John A. Dietz, 26, silo repairman, died attempting to save John E. Pieper, 27, farmer, from suffocation, Mount Hamill, Iowa, March 18, 1958. Pieper, who earlier had expressed concern about the improper functioning of equipment in the top of a 50 foot silo on his father’s farm, secured a rope and a wooden ladder from the barn and took them to the silo. Dietz and another man who were repairing the unloader at the base of the structure were occupied in their work and paid no attention to Pieper. A short time later, after Dietz had gone to their truck parked at the opposite side of the silo, the other man turned off the noisy motor of the unloader and heard someone yelling. The man ran to the truck but saw Dietz nowhere. Noting a wooden ladder in position below the metal ladder attached to the silo, the man looked toward the top of the structure. He saw Dietz, the upper part of his body projecting above the 18 inch opening of one of two hatches in the top, slowly disappearing into the hole. The man ascended the ladders. At that time both hatches were open, and a rope was tied to the top of the metal ladder so that an end extended into each hole. The man peered into the silo and saw Pieper and Dietz, who were unconscious and lying face upward atop the corn which filled the silo to within 15 feet of the top. The man descended to the ground and summoned help, including a physician and firemen. It was discovered that one end of the rope was about Pieper’s waist, but it had not been tied. A grappling hook was used to remove Pieper and Dietz. They were pronounced dead of suffocation from carbon dioxide given off by the silage.
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