- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 17, 2002

NORFOLK Trapped beneath tons of unshelled peanuts in a warehouse, the legumes pressing against his chest and head, Floyd Goodman Jr. didn't panic.
He slowed his breathing to conserve what little air there was. And he prayed, silently.
"I was saying, 'Lord help me. This is not the way I would like to go. Lord, I know that's not the way you want me to go,'" Mr. Goodman recalled in a brief telephone interview from his room at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where he was in good condition.
Mr. Goodman, 52, a 15-year employee at Golden Peanut Co. in Suffolk, Va., said he fell into the peanuts on Wednesday when he stepped off a beam.
"Basically, I got sucked in," Mr. Goodman said. "I knew there was nothing I can do."
Mr. Goodman said he ended up in a squat position. He pushed for a while against the peanuts to try to free up some room for himself, but that didn't help much.
Firefighters and company employees worked for more than an hour and a half to extricate him.
Mr. Goodman yelled, "Yes, I'm here," a couple times to try to help rescuers locate him.
"When I hollered, my breath got short, so I knew it was time to stop hollering," he said. "I had to try to think to slow my breathing down."
When he fell, he was wearing goggles and a cheap paper mask over his mouth, and the items offered some protection. Still, "the peanuts mashed against my chest, my head," he said. "The peanuts were pressing on me."
Mr. Goodman said he was scared he might die.
"I knew they would find me," he said. "I was afraid they wouldn't find me in time."
He prayed, telling God that he had a sick friend and a daughter who needed him, and that his family had already gone through enough heartache recently with the death of his stepfather.
"All I could do was pray and pray and pray," he said.
"Every time I moved something, it felt a little tighter," he said. "All I can say is, the Lord gave me the strength to my shoulders to try to breathe a little longer."
Eventually, a firefighter grabbed Mr. Goodman's foot. Rescuers used wood to keep more peanuts from collapsing onto Mr. Goodman, and they finally freed him.
Fire officials said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would investigate the incident.
Mr. Goodman was expected to remain hospitalized through the weekend, his daughter, Natasha Goodman, said. He needed more tests to determine whether he had suffered a mild heart attack during his ordeal, she added.
"He's in good spirits and everything. He's doing well," she said.
"I feel wonderful," Mr. Goodman said. "I do."


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