Nebraska Irrigation District Worker Dies in Fire

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A western Nebraska irrigation district employee has died after falling into a blazing ditch, where he was burning weeds.

The accident occurred Friday afternoon, killing 67-year-old Llewellyn Mattern. Investigators say Mattern, who worked for the Pathfinder irrigation district, slipped down a ditch embankment and fell an estimated 11 feet into the fire.

Deputy Scotts Bluff County Coroner Jeremy Anderson says Mattern was taken to a Scottsbluff hospital with severe burns over 75 percent of his body and was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

An autopsy is planned next week.