Ellensburg man who was rescued from a grain silo speaks about experience - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ellensburg man who was rescued from a grain silo speaks about experience

Posted: Updated:
Ellensburg, WA -  An Ellensburg man says he is lucky to be alive after getting buried neck deep in grain in a silo.

"I don't really remember," says Dan Brunson, "I was up to my knees in grain and then I was up to my shoulders."

Brunson returned to the grain silo on Canyon Road near Ellensburg, where he almost lost his life two days earlier.

"After about three hours, I started sweating real bad and I just told my boy I'm not going to make it. I'm going to give up," says Brunson.

But search and rescue crews from Ellensburg and Yakima did not.  Neither did Brunson's son who stayed with him inside the silo.

"Well, it seemed like an hour," says Jeff Brunson, Dan's son, "It didn't seem like it was that long.  It went by fast."

He was too caught up with trying to keep his father calm.

But it was an extremely delicate rescue situation.

"We knew we'd bring him out...  Whether he was going to be with us that was the question," says Chris Moen of Kittitas Valley Search and Rescue.

Brunson was having trouble breathing from all the grain, which put pressure on his chest.

"I as just trying to keep him calm and his airways clear," says Dan Johnson of Kittitas Valley Search and Rescue.

Crews tried to pull Brunson out of the silo with a harness, but he says it felt like his arms were going to be ripped off.

They carefully cut holes in the silo to slowly drain the grain.

Thirty tons of grain had to pour out of the silo before search and rescue crews could finally pull him free.

Brunson was supposed to go straight to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to be treated for compression sickness, but he made a miraculous recovery in the ambulance.

He was taken to Yakima Memorial Hospital instead and released later on that same night.

"I can't thank them in my heart enough for what they did," says Brunson, referring to all the people who assisted in his rescue.

About 70-people from 17 different agencies and businesses took part in the rescue effort.

There were also prayer chains.


The Brunsons wanted to publicly express gratitude for all the support.

Listed below are the names of all of the agencies and businesses who helped out:


Kittitas County Sheriff's Office

Kittitas Valley Fire Rescue

Yakima Fire Department

Union Gap Fire Department

City of Ellensburg Public Works

City of Ellensburg Police Department

Kittitas County Public Works

Kittitas Valley Community Hospital

Kittitas County Search and Rescue

Les Schwab Tires

Red Cross

Washington State Patrol

Kittitas County PUD

Puget Sound Energy

City of Yakima Police

Bryan Redland's City of Ellensburg Vac-Truck