Trapped Farmer Calls Local Bar For Help

Farmer Steve Pung was trapped in a 30-foot-high steel corn bin on his family's farm in Minnesota. He told his father to call the local bar, where Pung had eaten earlier, for help. Bartender Amy Orbeck was the first on the scene. She says when the county sheriff finally pulled Pung out, he was laughing and was able to walk. That night, she says, he was back at the local bar.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Customer service was taken to a new level this week in Spring Hill, Minnesota with a rescue of a farmer from a corn bin. Steve Pung had climbed into the grain bin to fix an unreliable auger; that's the contraption that feeds corn or grain to the bin. And what do you know, the darn thing broke while he was doing that. The bin started filling up, and soon he was up to his nose. His left arm was already pinned.

His right arm was still free. And so, he got his hand on his cell phone and tried to call his father, but he couldn't get through. He yelled loud. That bin was still filling up. And when his father finally showed up and peered over the top of the bin, farmer Pung told his dad what to do. Now he could have told him to call 911, but the farmer's mind went back to the place down the road where he'd just had a pork sandwich for lunch.

He told his dad to call the Extra Innings Bar & Grill first, and then place a call to 911. Amy Orbeck is a bartender at the Extra Innings Bar & Grill. She's the one who picked up the phone, and she picks up the story from there.

Ms. AMY ORBECK (Bartender, Extra Innings Bar & Grills): He called, oh, about 1:30 and said who he was. And said that Steve was stuck in the bin, send any of the guys that come in for the lunch hour that are there, send them all to help get him out.

BLOCK: And at 1:30, now that's still the tail end of the lunch rush, you must have had a few people in there, in the Extra Innings.

Ms. ORBECK: Yep. There was three - there was no guys in here. There was three elderly ladies, and I tried calling my dad's cell phone and it didn't go through. And then the one gal said go ahead, Amy. We'll just stay here until you come back. So I left. And then on my way out to their house, which is just two miles from here, I called my husband who was by my dad and told them that they needed to hurry up and get over to the Pungs' residence to help get -that Pung was - that Steve was stuck in the - trapped in the bin.

BLOCK: Now who got there first, you or your husband?

Ms. ORBECK: I was there first.

BLOCK: Can you tell me what you saw when you got there?

Ms. ORBECK: When I got there, his dad was at the top and he was yelling to me to go get a garden hose and a rope in case the corn went over his head, you know, that garden hose that he could still breathe through that.

BLOCK: And is that what you actually did? You got a garden hose up to...

Ms. ORBECK: Well, I asked where it was because I wasn't familiar with the farm. But he explained where it was, so I ran to their barn, grabbed the garden hose and came back. By the time, I came back the Stearns County sheriff was already there.

BLOCK: And what were they doing?

Ms. ORBECK: Trying to figure out how to get the doors open to get the corn out.

BLOCK: When they actually got him out of the bin, did they pull him up out of the top?

Ms. ORBECK: No. They actually - through the - them three doors, once they got the corn down more - far enough, they could just pull him right through there.

BLOCK: Now, paint a picture for me. What was it like when he emerged?

Ms. ORBECK: When they pulled him out, he actually, you know, was laughing, laughing and he was able to get up and walk. So it was - I mean it was a good sign to see.

BLOCK: Oh, good. Well, we are glad he's doing well also and hope he's back at the Extra Innings Bar & Grill sometime soon.

Ms. ORBECK: Yeah, absolutely. He was back actually that night. I mean, they took him to the hospital and evaluated him, and then he came in and he ordered food. He was in that night and the next day. So...

BLOCK: Well, it sounds like it was a pretty good thing that he got you on the phone.

Ms. ORBECK: Yeah. Well, I mean, I myself probably would have just called 911 right away. But I mean it worked out good.

BLOCK: Amy Orbeck, it's been a pleasure to talk to you. It sounds like this is a story that you all are going to be talking about for a long time out there in Spring Hill.

Ms. ORBECK: Yup.

BLOCK: Thanks so much.

Ms. ORBECK: Thank you.

BLOCK: That's Amy Orbeck. She's a bartender at the Extra Innings Bar & Grill in Spring Hill, Minnesota.

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