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Boy, 17, killed in farming accident near Myerstown

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:33:35 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 26 2013 08:21:52 AM CDT

A farming accident took the life of a teenager in Lebanon County on Wednesday, state police said.

HEIDELBERG TWP., Pa. -

Tragedy on a farm just across the Berks/Lebanon County line. A teenager has died and the loss is hitting the community very hard.

The Shaefferstown Fire Chief tells us that during the busy corn harvesting season, neighbors often gather to help each other out. That is when a 17-year old boy got trapped in a corn chopper and died.

Shafferstown Emergency Crews were called to a farm on Reistville Road in Heidelberg Township, Lebanon County around 11:30 Wednesday morning for a report of someone trapped in a corn chopper.

Emergency crews say 17-year old David Swarey was trying to feed corn into the chopper, but somehow he got trapped in the machine.

"It is a very dangerous occupation. You have to be very cautious. Accidents are not planned for," said neighbor David Rhodes.

It took emergency crews several hours to get Swarey out of the machine and he was pronounced dead on scene. Neighbors say unfortunately a lot of farming equipment is very dangerous and there is no real way to improve safety.
"It is an open system. I do not know how you would or could make it any safer. There are just certain elements that are open and you have to deal with," said Rhodes.

Neighbors say this is a very close farming community and Swarey's death will be a loss for the entire community.

"It would be very difficult because we are all like one big family here. It is very very difficult," said Rhodes.

The HazMat crew remained on scene to finish cleaning up after the accident.