RUSSELL, Kan. -- Two workers, including a college student from Nebraska, were killed Thursday when a grain elevator collapsed in central Kansas, burying them in wheat, authorities said.
Officials said Max Greve, 21, a Fort Hays State University student from Nebraska, and Sean Banks, 19, of Russell were unloading a tractor-trailer full of wheat around 2 p.m. Thursday when two bins at the Agco Inc. elevator in Russell collapsed, burying them with grain.
No other information on the two victims was available Thursday night.
The rig's driver was away from the vehicle and was able to escape, said Russell County Sheriff John Fletcher.
Afterward, authorities closed nearby U.S. 281, and crews used dump trucks and other heavy equipment to move the wheat in search of the missing workers. The bodies of Greve and Banks were recovered shortly before 5 p.m.
Fletcher said the collapse was the result of a structural failure, not an explosion.
Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman Todd Hileman said the remainder of the elevator is structurally sound. Officials said engineers were being brought to the facility to determine why the two bins collapsed.
Vickie Tammen, who lives southwest of the elevator, told The Hays Daily News there was "no bang, no boom."
"It sounded like a bunch of newspapers being crumpled," Tammen said. "I turned around and from that point, you could see the towers completely collapsing to the ground."