Gearhead News

March 16, 2021
Trailer Safety Chain Stops Dangling Ford Super Duty From Plummeting Into Gorge

As we well know, towing can be a tricky matter. You could ruin your vehicle,
ruin your trailer, or maybe, just maybe, end up dangling by a chain from a bridge. Such an instance occurred yesterday on Interstate 84 near Tuttle, Idaho, when the driver of a 2004 Ford F-350 Super Duty pulling a 30-foot camper lost control, swerving over a guardrail and off a bridge over the Malad Gorge.

Instead of falling to the bottom, however, the truck was miraculously held dangling onto the bridge by just the trailer’s safety chain nearly 100 feet above the Malad River. 

Magic Valley Paramedics

Miraculously, both occupants in the vehicle—and two dogs—were rescued safely, but not before a coordinated effort by three separate fire departments, state and local police, paramedics, and others. The two occupants, a driver and a passenger aged 67 and 64 were relatively unhurt following the single-car accident, and officers were able to communicate with them before the team that would eventually rescue them arrived.

In the meantime, the single safety chain keeping the truck from plummeting down to the bottom of the ravine was reinforced by another set of chains bound to a nearby semi-truck soon after law enforcement arrived on the scene. Somebody give that chain the Keys to the City! A short time later, a full team of emergency responders was at the site of the accident, including a group of rope rescue paramedics who rappelled down the side of the bridge, attaching harnesses to the two trapped motorists and pulling them to safety. The two dogs were rescued soon after that.

Both passengers in the truck were wearing seatbelts, which is likely why they were only suffering from minor injuries when transported to Magic Valley hospital soon after being pulled from the vehicle. Paramedics say the seatbelts also held the vehicle’s occupants safely in place until they could be pulled out of the dangling F-350.

It’s unclear what caused the accident, but the visible damage suffered by the vehicle includes a rear axle completely disconnected from one side of the frame, a severed driveshaft, and more. Whether this damage occurred during the accident or caused the accident itself it is unclear.

   

Speaking about the incident, Capt. David Neth of the Idaho State Police District 4 said it 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.”

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