A Pennsylvania Mennonite dairy farmer and two of his sons were found dead in a deep manure pit in Kent County Thursday morning in an apparent farm accident that remains under investigation by Maryland State Police.
The three from Lancaster County worked at the farm in Kennedyville every day, state police said. They pumped liquid manure from a 20-foot deep and sloping pit through large augers to ready the fertilizer for use on fields.
Glen W. Nolt, 48, Kelvin R. Nolt, 18, and Cleason S. Nolt, 14, of Peach Bottom in Lancaster County were last seen by other farm workers at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, state police said.
When the Nolts did not return by about 5 p.m. to milk cows at their own farm, family members became worried and drove to Maryland where they found a tractor and the father’s pickup truck parked and idling beside the 2-million gallon manure pond.
Local sheriffs and state police were called, and more than 45 fire and rescue workers from nearby small towns in Maryland and Delaware eventually were brought to the farm on Vansant Corner Road. Kennedyville is on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay between Elkton and Chestertown.
Nolt’s relatives stood by through the night as vacuum trucks from a nearby farm were brought in to drain the pond and a convoy of trucks took the manure out to fields as the levels in the pond dropped.
The body of the eldest Nolt, who is believed to have been the first victim, police said, was found submerged at about 1:15 a.m Thursday. His sons’ bodies were found at 4 a.m. and at 5:45 a.m., according to state police.
There is no evidence of foul play at this time and no witnesses to the incident have been found, state police spokesman Greg Shipley said. The case remains under investigation pending autopsy results, Shipley said.
Nolt and his wife have five other children, Shipley said.