Frequent RV’ers are well aware of the hazards that come with towing. Unfortunately, one Idaho couple saw firsthand the damage heavy winds can cause while driving down the road.
Emergency on the I-84
The couple was driving down the I-84 in their 2004 F-350, towing a 30-ft camper on March 15th. According to Idaho News 6, they began to swerve, hitting the right shoulder barrier.
The truck then hit the guardrail on the left, sending it tipping over the bridge. Their camper remained in the lanes obstructing eastbound traffic.
When the dust settled, the couple, a 67-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman, were left dangling headfirst into the Malad Gorge. Idaho State Police estimates it was an 80 to 100-foot drop to the bottom.
The single safety chain that secured their truck to their camper, was the only thing keeping them from falling.
Securing the Vehicle
A Idaho State Trooper was first to arrive on the scene and was able to yell down to the couple to see if they were okay. Both passenger were wearing their safety belts and did not have any threatening injuries.
A semi-truck driver, who happened to be on the road, immediately gave a second set of chains to the officer to assist in keeping the truck and camper attached while they waited for the remainder of the rescue crews.
A Gooding County Sheriff helped the Idaho State Trooper attached the secondary chain. The officers then waited for Magic Valley’s SORT team and Air St. Luke to arrive.
SORT, Special Operations Rescue Team, is a paramedics group specially trained in angle rescues. The team rappelled down off the bridge next to the hanging vehicle, using a harness to bring each passenger up to safety, including the couple’s two small dogs.
“This was a tremendous team effort that took a quick response and really showed the dedication and training of our community of first responders. This is something we train and prepare for, but when it happens, and people’s lives literally hang in the balance, it takes everyone working together, and then some.”Capt. David Neth of the Idaho State Police
Paramedics took the couple to a nearby hospital for treatment. Both are expected to be okay.
Nine different agencies aided in saving this couple’s lives. This incredible team effort had heroic results, saving the lives of a couple and their dogs.