Franklin County farm worker rescued after her foot became stuck in an auger

ELTOPIA, Wash. — A woman who got her foot stuck in an auger Tuesday on a Franklin County dairy farm was rescued and flown to a Richland hospital.

Fire crews said they were dispatched at 8:42 a.m. to an industrial rescue of a farmworker with her lower leg stuck in the farm equipment.

“It was a pit auger, so it was below ground,” said Mike Harris, Fire Chief with Franklin County Fire District 3. “The auger transfers feed out of the storage area back out into the feedlot for the trucks. I’m not sure what the employee was doing at the time but somehow their foot got stuck in the auger.”

The work crew at the farm turned off the auger and tried to disassemble and cut the auger.

Fire departments from Pasco and Burbank with technicians operating extra equipment helped the Franklin County crews stabilize the injured worker and cut the auger and lift it out from its position underground in a concrete pit.

The worker was rescued and taken by Life Flight to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.

“We consider this a fairly complex incident. Anytime you have an extremity — arm or a leg — stuck in a piece of machinery, we have to take care of the patient and we have to isolate the machinery,” Chief Harris said, explaining the need to remove stored energy from the hydraulics involved, then slowly take apart or cut the piece of machinery trapping the patient.

The woman was conscious and alert during the rescue and helicopter ride, Harris said. We’ll work to get an update on her condition from Kadlec.

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