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VanVoorst, Alfred 1939-1968


Posted By: Paula Curcio (email)
Date: 5/20/2004 at 09:24:06

Obituary as it appeared in the LeMars Daily Sentinel Wednesday, October 30, 1968
Page 1, Column 1


Alfred Van Voorst, 28, Seney, formerly of LeMars and Merle Lill, 28, LeMars formerly of Nebraska, died Tuesday afternoon while working on a 45 foot well northeast of Cherokee.

They were employees of Darrell Sordrager, 31, Brunsville, owner and operator of the well digging firm.

Dr. D.C. Koser, Cherokee County Medical Examiner, ruled the deaths to be due to asphyxia, a deficiency of oxygen and excess of carbon dioxide in the blood. He stated that there was gas in the shaft as well, and both inhaled the irrespirable gases.
Frank Buckingham, Cherokee Times Editor, who was at the scene, said it was very frustrating for all who were trying to rescue the men because of the cramped quarters of the deep shaft.

He said firemen on the scene reported the men could not have lived more then 5 to 10 minutes in the well atmosphere. It took about one and a half hours to bring the bodies up.
Sordrager said Lill was the first man down into the shaft and he was immediately overcome. When he did not respond to calls from above, Sordrager said Van Voorst went down into the well to assist Lill.

After a short time Van Voorst yelled "Bring me up". The owner of the equipment said, but as Sordrager was pulling Van Voorst up, he appearantly became unconscious and slipped off the device used to lower the men into the shaft.

Phil Fassler of Cherokee Fire Department Rescue Squad, wearing an air pack had gone down into the shaft earlier in an attempt to rescue the men.

The Cherokee Civil Defense Unit, Cherokee County Sehriff's Office, Iowa Highway Patrol and an Iowa Public Service Company crew assisted in the rescue effort.

Sorgdrager said he had warned both men of the danger of gas and reminded them to wear safety belts. However, he said both men entered the well shaft without.

Mr. Van Voorst was born Dec. 29, 1939 in LeMars the son of Richard Van Voorst. He was a life long resident of Plymouth County. December 3, 1965 he was married to Maryann Kramer at Vermillion. His mother, who preceded him in death, was Cleo Roberts.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Mauer Funeral Chapel. Rev. Gerald Marlow will officiate and burial will be in the LeMars City Cemetery.
Survivors include his wife, Margaret, rural LeMars and two children, Douglas and Diane at home. A Brother Alex Richard Van Voorst, Fort Madison, a sister Mrs. Laverne (Rosemary) Vanders Beek, Omaha his father Richard Van Voorst, Merrill and his grandparents who live in LeMars.


Plymouth Obituaries maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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