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Farmer killed in equipment mishap

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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A 61-year-old Maryland man was killed July 8 while fixing farm equipment in a field near Laurel.

The Parsonburg, Md. man was operating a trailer with a square baler attached to it near 11244 Whitesville Road about 2:30 p.m., said Delaware State Police spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier.

Behind the square baler was an attached "Bale Bandit," a large piece of equipment that bands 20 bales together before discharging them as a single block onto the ground behind the machine. The farmer found a problem with the Bale Bandit and asked his 27-year-old son to help fix it.

After clearing bales from the machine, the son told his father he was going to reactivate the machine to reset it.

As the son walked to the tractor, his father took a seat on a nearby bale of straw. When the son entered the tractor and activated the machine, he heard a scream and turned to see his father trapped inside the Bale Bandit, Fournier said.

An investigation suggests the father possibly saw a broken band inside the machine and was attempting to remove it when his son activated the machine. The man was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple traumatic injuries, Fournier said.

Detectives are continuing an investigation, but there are no signs of foul play.

The farmer's body has been turned over to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science, and the man's name will not be released based on state police practice for investigating this manner of industrial incidents, Fournier said.

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Original Publication Date: July 12, 2016

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