The obituaries for three Ohio siblings all feature the same chilling line: "He is preceded in death by his brothers." That's because the Wuebker brothers—31-year-old Todd, 35-year-old Brad, and 37-year-old Gary—died together this week in a freak accident, overcome by fumes after becoming trapped in a manure pit, reports WDTN. Rescue crews found the Wuebkers shortly after noon on Tuesday, unconscious and unable to move, on their family livestock farm near St. Henry. They were taken to area hospitals, where they were pronounced dead, per the AP. St. Henry Fire Chief Matt Lefeld says the brothers had apparently been fixing a manure pump when the fumes overwhelmed them. It's not clear how the brothers got stuck in the pit, or how long they'd been in it.
A preliminary autopsy on two of the brothers points to asphyxiation secondary to a farm accident as the cause of death. Manure pits are common on livestock farms, and according to the Ohio State University Extension, gases from such storage facilities—including methane, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and carbon monoxide—are a big concern, per the Daily Standard. The gases cause varying symptoms, ranging from burning eyes, nausea, dizziness, and headache at lower levels, to breathing trouble and even death at higher levels. Compounding that is the fact that methane and carbon monoxide are odorless, which is why they're sometimes called "silent killers." The brothers' funeral is set for Monday. (Read more freak accident stories.)