SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – Authorities say a 23-year-old worker was cleaning a 12-foot-tall tank containing molasses in western Michigan when he drowned.

Details of Robert Herweyer’s July 26 death at Agri-Technology in Saugatuck were released this week by the Allegan County sheriff’s department and reported by The Grand Rapids Press.

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According to the report, Herweyer and another worker were cleaning the tank when the molasses level became too low to pump out. He wore a safety mask and lowered himself into the tank using a forklift and straps, but stopped moving while getting out.

The company’s owner used an electric saw to cut Herweyer out of the tank and started CPR along with others. Witnesses say Herweyer was in the molasses for four or five minutes before he was freed. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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Herweyer died a week before his wife, Joy, was expected to deliver their first baby. State officials are investigating his death.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help Herweyer’s wife with any current or future expenses. As of Wednesday morning, nearly $25,000 had been raised.

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