It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


2 Teenage Monsanto Employees Age 14, Electrocuted To Death In Illinois

page: 1
<<   2 >>

log in


posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 01:08 PM
Talk about a tragedy, girls just trying to make a few bucks during suimmer.

2 girls form Illinois working for Monsanto on summer jobs were electrocuted and killed while detasseling corn.

OSHA and The local Sheriff are investigating wrong doings.

Hours later, FORBES releases an article claiming Monsanto is one of the world's most innovative companies.

Is that good timing or bad timing in regards to the Forbes article. Meaning, is it a way to cover-up coverage on the 2 teens deaths or does it make them out as more of an evil corporation...which of course they are.

Investigators Searching For Answers In Electrocution Deaths

The Whiteside County Sheriff's Department says rumors are running rampant about how a group of detasselers came to be shocked in a rural Tampico field.

Two 14-year-old girls were electrocuted in the accident.

Investigators say Jade Garza and Hannah Kendall of Sterling died after coming in contact with an irrigator before 9 a.m. Monday.

Many questions remain about how the accident happened and whether it could have been prevented.

OSHA says it's conducting it's own investigation but so far has few answers.

"We don't know if there was a maintenance issue with it.

We don't have any specifics on the details into this yet," said Scott Allen, OSHA spokesperson. Monsanto, the company the girls worked for, says it doesn't have very many answers either.

Spokesperson Tom Helscher says Monsanto is working with investigators to figure out what happened. Helscher couldn't say whether or not supervisors in the fields are trained in CPR or whether detasselers sign waivers when they're hired, relieving the company of responsibility in the case of an accident.

The Whiteside County Sheriff's department says it's conducting it's own investigation, interviewing witnesses and gathering facts. OSHA says it hopes to complete its investigation in the near future.

"We'll be sure to do a complete investigation into why and how these children were put into jeopardy," said Allen.

Investigators Searching For Answers In Electrocution Deaths

Forbes: Monsanto among world's most innovative companies

posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 01:14 PM
And what was OSHA & Monsanto's response:

"I am saddened by this terrible accident and loss," said Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant in a statement released by the company. "We place the highest priority on the safety of our contractors and employees."

Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials were in Tampico on Tuesday gathering more information. OSHA spokeswoman Rhonda Burke said the accident investigation could take up to six months to complete.

Tom Helscher, director of corporate affairs for Monsanto, said Tuesday that the company has more than 150 fields where detasseling occurs across north-central Illinois, employing more than 1,000 people.

Source - Chicago Tribune:

So a generic reply from CEO.

OSHA stating hours after deaths that it will take 6 months to investigate...just long enough to be forgotten by most.

And the director of corporate affairs for Monsanto, seems to imply that they have job openings.

Sigh Sad Sigh!!!

posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 01:25 PM
They have job openings !? I mean I don't want to be working for a GMO food company that would go against everything I stand for but damn! I can't believe that they died like that how sad!

The parents of the kids should strike up a lawsuit!
edit on 27-7-2011 by Heartisblack because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 01:26 PM
thanks for sharing this as sad as it may be people can not be allowed to just ignore this devastation allowed by our Gov. paid for by tax payers and profiting only big business.

posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 01:38 PM
and for those like me wondering just WTF "detasseling" is:

Detasseling corn is removing the pollen-producing flowers, the tassel, from the tops of corn (maize) plants and placing them on the ground. It is a form of pollination control,[1] employed to cross-breed, or hybridize, two varieties of corn.

Source: Detasseling - Wikipedia

On a side note - the families of those poor girls better watch out as Monsanto may very well sue them for allowing the girls to invade Monsanto's fields

posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 01:56 PM
And the spin begins:

The farm is one of several owned by the Matthews couple, who live in Walnut. They contract with Monsanto for the planting and harvesting of their corn crop, saying the company educates its workers on the possible dangers of irrigation systems.

The couple speculated Tuesday that their irrigation equipment, which they said they bought in 1976, had been struck by lightning.

Detasseling electrocution deaths raise questions

Guess they could do side work for OSHA because they seemed to have it figured out now while OSHA needs 6 months.

I truly hope there is justice for these 2 dead girls and the 2 injured electrocution victims.

Jade Garza, 14, and Hannah Kendall, 14, both of Sterling, were working for Monsanto Corp. when, the company says, they and two other detasselers were electrically shocked by a center pivot irrigation system. The four were taken to CGH Medical Center in Sterling, where Jade and Hannah were pronounced dead. Another victim remained at CGH for observation while the fourth was airlifted to OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford and was listed in critical condition Tuesday.

If it really does take 6 months to investigate, does that mean the Matthews' farms will be shut down during the investigation?

Oh, that's right. Nothing gets in the way of profits...not even teenage innocence.

posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 02:07 PM
how the # do you get electrocuted corn detasseling?

posted on Jul, 27 2011 @ 03:16 PM
They are still pushing the 'LIGHTNING" angle as the cause of death...

Not only have the farm owners stated "Lightning" but now officially, Monsanto is stating it...but will take 6 months to investigate.

The irrigation system is supposedly powered hydraulically and was turned off during the deaths & injuries.

Here is the Wunderground Weather History. Shows a sunny cloudless day.
Tampico, IL Weather Calender

Lightning damage may have contributed to detasseling deaths

Lightning might have struck the mechanical irrigation system believed to have electrocuted two Sterling teens in Whiteside County.

Jade Garza, 14, and Hannah Kendall, 14, were shocked Monday morning after they came into contact with an above-ground farm irrigation system, according to the Whiteside County Sheriff's Office. The girls later were pronounced dead at Community General Hospital in Sterling.

Two other detasselers were injured; one was listed in critical condition on Monday with no update available Tuesday. The four were working for Monsanto as detasselers in a seed corn field on Luther Road north of Tampico near the intersection of Star Road.

"It appears that lightning may have damaged the center pivot irrigation system in the corn field causing it to become electrified," Tom Helscher, a Monsanto spokesman, said Tuesday via e-mail.

But he added the company still does not know for sure how the accident happened. According to Mr. Helscher, the irrigation system was not on when the detasselers were shocked.

Lightning damage may have contributed to detasseling deaths
edit on 7/27/2011 by EyeHeartBigfoot because: typo

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 01:21 AM
Ummm, Aged 14?? I don't know but isn't that child labour? And even if they were working, shouldn't someone that age be supervised? If so where is the supervisor? Too many questions here.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 11:07 AM
good investigative work people. The lack of bad weather on that day is a definite red flag (Monday the 25th) I work for AgGenetics 30 miles away from there, and that Monday had no clouds all day! I would know because I got second degree burns from the sun that day! I hear that Monsanto workers get paid better than my current $8.25 an hour because it's more dangerous. Boy, I bet those parents are regretting sending their daughters out in the fields just to make some lousy cash now that they're dead.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 05:45 PM
Latest Spin:

Note: ponds in fields all over due to heavy rains over the weekend; was there a lightning strike?; reports have that it may have been struck by lightning on Sunday (KWQC) and, perhaps, no detasseling should have taken place Monday. It was noted by me that being behind schedule may have forced the issue of getting in the field. Monsanto has confirmed that lighting DID strike the irrigator.

From KWQC: In an e-mail, Monsanto spokesperson Tom Helscher writes "lightning damage to the power supply for the irrigator has been observed. However, to our knowledge exactly how or if that may have contributed to the accident has not been determined and investigation of the matter is still underway."


Chris Minor Reporter
July 28, 2011 ROCK FALLS, Ill.

— Monsanto Corporation is now changing protocol in corn fields connected with the agricultural giant, after two teens working for the company were electrocuted detasseling corn earlier this week.

Monsanto corporate spokesman Tom Heschler says irrigation systems in the fields will now be required to be unplugged and turned off at the source, and the irrigator itself moved out of the detasseling area.

2 Sterling teens die after being electrocuted while detasseling

"We're asking the growers to de-energize the electrical systems and to park the system appropriately and confirm that has been done before a crew can enter the field," Heschler said from his St. Louis office Thursday afternoon.


posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 06:00 PM
reply to post by EyeHeartBigfoot

Still Monsanto's fault. When I worked for a major oil refinery when it began to lightening we moved inside and were not allowed to go out til it was over.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 06:09 PM
I live right across the river from Whiteside county and this story is big news around here. I just wanted to point out that the night before this happened, we had storms move through the area and there was alot of lightning. Not saying it struck the irrigation equipment in question, but there was storms and lightning the night before.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 06:13 PM
reply to post by GogoVicMorrow

The farm owners must take some responsibility. Even if the farm management failed to report the claimed lightning damage, they are responsible for everything that happens there.

I have yet to find any data that Monsanto was managing the corn field. See my previous threads, I am no Monsanto fan but this tragedy seems to go beyond them this time.

My biggest concern is that - the profits at all cost mentality - has claimed the life of two 14 year old girls.

Life is precious and priceless...PERIOD!

Nothing will replace the lost the family and friends are and will experience, but since money is all that matters to the corporate mindset, they must hurt the greedy where it hurts most...the bottom line.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 06:26 PM
reply to post by peewee1263

reply to post by Xinthose

Thank you for your update and local opinion.

Since I am sure not many here are very familiar with irrigation systems, do you have any opinions on if an irrigation system is able to store electrical energy overnight?

The farm owners have already stated that their irrigation system was purchased in 1976 and is hydraulically powered.

Now the claim is that the irrigation system was struck by lightning the previous day.

I am not an electrical engineer but have fairly good experience with audio equipment. From my experience, it takes a fairly large 4"x4" transformer to hold current enough to cause a severe burn and not much larger to cause a life threatening shock. Capacitors need to be much larger than used for consumer electronic and not familiar with the hazards. Tube amplifiers of any size are not to be messed with by any novice.

I also understand hydraulic systems and most are electrically powered but usually just for the oil pump.

Any addidtional information and updates from your local perspective would be greatly appreciated.

PS Please do not think that I believe you are farm familiar just because you live close by, just curious if you know.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 06:51 PM
reply to post by EyeHeartBigfoot

True, but if Monsanto hangs beside them it will be no weight on my conscience.
14 is awful young to be working in a field, this summer in particular.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 07:05 PM
What I heard on the local news is that maybe the equipment was hit by lightning and maybe some part of the equipment was damaged in such a way that there was electricity still involved. Like you said, I'm not a farmer so I really don't know, and I don't think they do either. What I do think is that Monsanto is already trying to cover their butts. They are saying all the right things, but my impression is that they are going to say that it was the farmers fault, even though he had called an electrician the day before to come out and check it out. Those kids should never have been in that field before it was checked out. Sorry I couldn't add more technical details.

posted on Jul, 29 2011 @ 01:27 PM
Stuff like this should never happen in the first place. Now if it were illegal immigrants, would we have even heard about this?

I'm surprised they actually hired local kids. You know, that whole thing about Americans being too lazy to work for agricultural wages. Probably even had to go through parent signed waivers and stuff to get these summer jobs.

It will be interesting to see if the investigation gets anywhere and what else may be revealed.

posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 02:17 PM
as an old farmer and former owner of several center pivot systems the accident makes sense when you understand that the power from the road, which is high voltage 3 phase, travels underground to a meter base and disconnect in the center of the field that supplies power to the water pump and the engine/hydraulic pump for the unit. when lighting strikes the ground it may travel long distances, and the underground supply lines to the meter base can conduct the current into the meter base and disconnect box. there are fuses, but they can be welded together by lightning and in doing so may also electrify the ground around the box and flow via ground rods or other means to the actual unit. that would enable very high voltage to be in the unit until it is grounded, and with no fuse it would continue the circuit until broken. there really in no way anyone can prepare for this accident, but possible there may be a need to look at the way the feed lines were installed as it sounds like they may have had a weak point to allow lighting to get into the system. as the meter base was indicted to appear to have been struck, there is no way anyone could know this unless they actually went to the box first. the new policy to move the unit first would have stopped this as the operator would have seen the problem, although there may have been the same type of accident at that point also.

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 06:16 PM
reply to post by oldfarmer61
great intel, thanks; that all makes sense; it seems to me like the good Lord decided to call them home, but is still tragic none the less

new topics

<<   2 >>

log in