Safety chains play an incredibly important part of correctly towing a trailer. They add a layer of redundancy to make towing safer for you and others on the road. But for the occupants of this Ford Super Duty in Idaho, their trailer’s safety chains are what kept them from plunging off of a bridge earlier this week.
On March 15 in Idaho, witnesses saw the driver of a 2004 Ford F-350 Super Duty lose control while towing a 9.14 m travel trailer, reports Idaho State Police. It’s not known why the driver lost control, but it resulted in the truck going over the side of the bridge.
The F-350 was kept from plummeting into the gorge thanks to the trailer that remained on the bridge, connected to the truck only by its safety chains, from Idaho State Police:
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 Malad Gorge is approximately 80 to 100 feet (25-30m) below the bridge.
Thankfully, the occupants of the truck, a 67-year-old man, a 64-year-old woman and two dogs, only suffered minor injuries and were able to communicate with an Idaho State Police Trooper outside. The Super Duty was chained to a semi-truck for extra safety while help was on the way. Both wore seatbelts, which held them in the truck until rescuers could arrive. The seatbelts likely limited injuries, too.
The Magic Valley Paramedics Special Operations Rescue Team rappelled down to the truck and, with the use of harnesses, were able to extract the occupants from the Ford.
Capt. David Neth of the Idaho State Police District 4 in Jerome, said:
“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.”
Chad Smith, Field Supervisor for Magic Valley Paramedics SORT and Flight Paramedic for Air St. Luke’s, was also proud of his team:
“I am just so proud of our team. It shows what all agencies including Magic Valley Paramedics Special Operations Rescue Team (SORT), Air St. Luke’s and St. Luke’s Magic Valley Paramedics can do working together.”
They should be! These rescuers turned what could have been a tragic day into a happy ending and they are absolute heroes for it. The case remains under investigation to figure out exactly what went wrong. But for now, everyone is safe and sound.
This crash is a perfect example of why you should always use safety chains when towing. You never know when (and how) you’ll need them.