A man apparently drowned after falling into an iced-over manure pit at a Cache County dairy, authorities said.

Sheriff's deputies said the 21-year-old Logan-area man was rounding up some cows that got loose at a dairy near 200 West and 4000 South in Nibley around 9 a.m. Friday.

"He was walking around on this property," Cache County Sheriff's Lt. Matt Bilodeau told the Deseret Morning News. "Unbeknownst to him, they had a couple of natural manure pits. He walked out on the corner of one, not knowing what he was on top of. He broke through the ice and sunk into the manure pit."

Deputies said the pit is about 8 feet deep and is filled with cow manure, moisture and ammonia from the urine, giving it a "soupy consistency."

"It is loose quicksand is what it is," Bilodeau said. "You can't swim in it. You're almost completely incapacitated in it."

When the man didn't come back after an hour and the loose cows were seen wandering around, co-workers went looking for him. They followed his tracks in the snow to the edge of the pit, which is surrounded by a berm.

Searchers responded immediately, putting a flat-bottom boat out on the pit. They used probes and ropes to find the man at the bottom of the pit and pull him out. He was pronounced dead at the scene, deputies said.

Bilodeau said the man had only been working at the dairy for a couple of weeks. The Cache County Sheriff's Office said it was not releasing the man's name until next of kin could be notified.

E-mail: [email protected]