An Irish suckler farmer has said he is lucky to be alive after surviving a fall into a slurry pit with over 5ft of slurry in it.

Speaking to Agriland, Adrian Fitzsimons said he hopes his near-death experience will serve as a reminder for all farmers to exercise extreme caution when working with slurry.

The part-time suckler farmer said the freak accident occurred while he was filling a tanker with slurry on Saturday afternoon (June 24).

“I was doing no different than I was doing with every other load of slurry,” he explained.

“I went to walk across the pipe, the tank lid was open and I had safety mesh down and I don’t know did it [the safety mesh] move, but I fell down in a shot into the tank.

“I fell down and the next place I found myself…..was below, on my hands and knees at the bottom of the tank and completely submerged with slurry,” he said.

“The tank was over three-quarters full. When I was standing up in it, [the slurry] was up to my mouth.

“So I swung round quick and found the pipe. The pipe at this stage was still connected to the tanker because I never even got to close down the sluice or do anything like that, it happened as I was going across to do that.

“I got a hold of the pipe and got myself fished up out of the slurry. I pulled myself up and got my head and shoulders and mouth above the slurry.

“I held on to the pipe. My eyes, my ears and my mouth were all full of slurry. I thought if I got a second, I would be able to climb up the pipe and get out,” he continued.

“I pulled and tried and pulled but I could only get up a few inches. I could not get up, I could not get myself out.

“I held onto the pipe as hard as I could because with the muck and everything I tried to just keep my mouth above the slurry, trying to get just a gasp of the fresh air from the manhole above.

“I thought I was gone. The emotion of it, the smell, the ammonia, it was out and out unreal. It was absolutely the scariest thing. I started dehydrating in the tank with the roaring and the shouting and with the slurry.

“I put my hand up and my lips were rock hard. I have a moustache and it was solid with the slurry that was on it and my mouth was dry because when I was submerged down in the slurry, it was up my nose and in my mouth. I was trying to spit it out and my mouth went dry.

“When I was below in the tank, I was slipping because the slurry was coming back up over my shoulders. The pain in my head was unnatural.”

Adrian was in the slurry pit for two and a half hours, from roughly 2:20p.m until 4:50p.m when a friend came.

“I had arranged to meet a friend later on that evening. My phone was in the tractor and he had rang and text several times wondering why I wasn’t replying back,” Adrian explained.

“He just by an off chance landed into the yard and he heard me shouting below in the tank and he got me.

“It’s one of these things you don’t expect to happen but it can happen very, very handy.

“There’s not too many that get the chance to tell the tale. If my story will stop a farmer from taking a chance, well then I’m a happy man.”

Adrian said the slurry tank has been closed and will not be reopened until all safety covers have been fixed.