94-year-old man dies in grain bin incident while unloading soybeans in Iowa

A 94-year-old man died in a grain bin incident in Iowa on Monday, officials said.

The Fremont County Sheriff's office said Robert Wayne Smith was unloading soybeans in Tabor, Iowa while running a grain vacuum before he was found dead.

Smith's son was outside moving a semi-truck that they were loading and returned to find him under the beans.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was sent to the State Medical Examiner's office to determine the cause of death.

Tabor is a small town in southwestern Iowa near the state's border with Nebraska, nearly 40 miles southeast of Omaha.

Grain bins have long posed health risks

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration warns grain bins pose many dangers including the risk of suffocation or engulfment. The agency has previously issued a hazard alert informing the public of the risks of grain bins and silos.

According to the insurance group Nationwide, there were 29 grain entrapments reported in 2021, which resulted in 11 deaths. The agency said over 300 grain entrapments have been recorded in the decade ending in 2023 and estimates that an additional 30% of cases go unreported.