A couple was saved by a heroic team of first responders after their truck crashed over the railing of the Malad Gorge bridge on Interstate 84 in Idaho. The 2004 Ford F-150 towing a Flagstaff Super Lite RV trailer was found dangling by just a single trailer safety chain. It was about 100-feet to the canyon floor, a drop that would have likely meant death for the truck’s occupants, a couple and 2 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,” said Capt. David Neth of the Idaho State Police District 4 in Jerome. “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.”
The Idaho State Police arrived on the scene on eastbound Interstate 84 at milepost 146 at about 2:42 pm. They managed to assemble a team of first responders within minutes. Once on scene Special Operations Rescue Team (SORT) Magic Valley Paramedics was able to get a rescuer to the victims in just 6 minutes.
Witnesses on scene reported that; “The truck and camper swerved hitting the right shoulder barrier, then went left until the truck was sliding on the left side guardrail. The truck then tipped over the bridge, with the camper blocking both eastbound lanes. Only the safety chain attached between the truck and the camper kept the truck from falling.”
The first State Trooper on scene was able to talk to the couple inside the truck and access that they were alert and not seriously injured. He then attached additional chains, from a semi-truck driver nearby, to the dangling pickup to provide additional protection for the dangling pickup until rescue crews could arrive.
A rappel team was able to get harnesses on the couple in the truck and safely raise them back to the safety of the bridge. The 67-year-old male driver and 64-year-old female passenger were both wearing their seatbelts, which helped them avoid injury and not fall from the dangling truck. They both sustained non-life-threatening injuries but were quickly transported to the local hospital for evaluation.
To top it off, there were two dogs in the dangling pickup as well. Both were rescued and had no serious injuries.
A shout out to all the responding agencies that made this heroic rescue such a success: Idaho State Police, Gooding County Sheriff’s Deputies, Gooding County EMS, Gooding Fire Department, Gooding Rural Fire Department, the Jerome City Fire Department, Air St Luke’s, Idaho Fish & Game, Jerome County Sheriff’s Office.
(Photos from Magic Valley Paramedics and information from a press release by the Idaho State Police.)