Mount Duneed farmer Don Fagg dies after becoming trapped in hay baler

Don Fagg was much loved by his family. Photo: Courtesy of Seven News The hay baler in which Don Fagg was trapped. Photo: Courtesy of Seven News
Nanjing Night Net

It took rescuers nearly three hours to free Don Fagg from the hay baler. Photo: Courtesy of Nine News

Dozens of emergency services were called to the scene. Photo: Courtesy of Seven News

Late farmer Don Fagg. Photo: Supplied

A Mount Duneed farmer who was trapped in a hay baler for at least 24 hours has died in hospital.

Don Fagg, 67, was found by a neighbour on his Horseshoe Bend Road property about 6.45pm on Tuesday.

It took emergency services nearly three hours to free him from the farm machinery and he was then flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital on Wednesday morning in a critical condition.

He died about midnight on Wednesday.

Mr Fagg’s cousin, former Geelong mayor Keith Fagg, led tributes describing Don as a larger-than-life character, who was much-loved by his three daughters and three grandchildren, as well as the wider family.

The prominent family is behind the city’s long-established Fagg’s Mitre 10 business.

“He was a gregarious man, who was very active in all he did,” Keith said.

Mr Fagg was a builder by trade and more recently a farmer. He swam in the annual Lorne Pier to Pub open water race and was a member of the Hash House Harriers running club, Keith said.

“He was living alone on his farm, so there was no one who was aware that he hadn’t come back in. We think he was in the machine for about 26 to 28 hours.”

It is believed Mr Fagg’s hay baler may have broken down and he was using a sledge hammer to try to fix it when he became trapped.

Mr Fagg’s death comes as WorkSafe highlights the risk to farmers carrying out work alone on rural properties during the busy Christmas period.

“We believe the man was working alone on his property when he has become entangled in a baling machine,”  said Adam Watson, WorkSafe head of operations and emergency management.

“WorkSafe inspectors and investigators were on scene yesterday and are seeking to uncover how this terrible incident occurred.

“Each year we continue to see Victorian farmers over-represented in fatality statistics.

Since January this year, seven men have lost their lives while working on farms across the state.

Mr Watson said Victorian farmers were more likely to die in November and December than any time of the year. In the past decade, almost 25 per cent of all workplace fatalities have occurred in November and December.

“Our research tells us that many incidents occur when farmers are doing work they have done many times before,” Mr Watson said.

“Many farmers work alone which means if there’s a problem, they may not be able to call for help.”

Mr Watson advised farmers to touch base with family and neighbours during their work throughout the day.

“And plan out your day and the tasks that need to be done so you can do them safely,” he said.

Farm deaths in Victoria 2016

January 1: A 21-year-old dairy farmer was electrocuted while working on a submersible pump in a drainage pit at Yarroweyah, in Victoria’s north.February 5: A 59-year-old farmer fell off a ladder while doing repair work on gutters of a farm shed at Major Plains, near Shepparton.March 29: A 70-year-old worker fell from a front end loader while undertaking maintenance work at Dimboola, in north-west Victoria.May 20: A 61-year-old farmer died after becoming entangled in a feed bin mixer on a farm at Echuca.May 21: A 49-year-old farmer died when he became entangled in a large air drill/seeder being towed by a tractor at Marnoo, in central Victoria.May 29: A 73-year-old farmer died after being run over by a backhoe at Navarre, in central Victoria.June 26: A 69-year-old man died after becoming trapped under the quad bike he was operating at Pomborneit East, in south-west Victoria.November 30: Farmer Don Fagg, 67, died after becoming trapped in a hay baler at his Mt Duneed property, near Geelong.

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