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3-year-old in critical condition after falling into septic tank

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A 3-year-old boy is at a hospital in critical condition after being pulled out of a septic tank Sunday night.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said in an email news release they believe the child, Mick Johnston, fell into the tank in Two Harbors accidentally around 7:20 p.m..

He was unresponsive when rescued from the tank, and taken via helicopter to St. Lukes Hospital in Duluth. He's now at Essentia St. Mary's in critical condition, a update early Monday said.

Keep kids away

The incident has the sheriff's office reminding people to be careful with children and septic tanks.

They're urging parents "to keep children away from access locations to septic tanks, and to inspect your septic tanks to insure that entry points are properly secured."

This does happen occasionally.

Last year, a 5-year-old in Virginia died after falling into a septic tank, USA Today reported. His mother was charged with murder.

A girl in Ohio, also 5, died in 2014 – they think the lid to the tank broke as she was standing on it, WSAZ reported.

It happened that same year here in Blue Earth, when a 7-year-old fell in after hopping on the lid. He was ultimately OK, partly thanks to the tank having been emptied recently. But officials were again then reminding people to be careful with septic tanks, especially the lids.

In addition to the risk of drowning, tanks that contain sewage can see toxic gases like methane and hydrogen sulfide can build up unless properly ventilated, OSHA says. The fumes can quickly incapacitate you.

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