Monday, March 15, 2021
Heroic Rescue after pickup goes over the Malad Gorge bridge on Interstate 84
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IDAHO STATE POLICE NEWS RELEASE
District 4 Patrol 218 West Yakima, Jerome, ID 83338-5904 (208) 324-6000
For Immediate Release: 03/15/21 10:05PM
Please direct questions to the ISP Public Affairs Office firstname.lastname@example.org (208)884-7122
Idaho State Troopers responded to a vehicle crash that turned into a heroic rescue after a pickup truck went off a bridge over the deep canyon of the Malad Gorge.
When the first Trooper arrived on scene, the pickup had gone over the edge of the bridge and was held only by a safety chain connected to a camp trailer. Eventually, the couple inside the truck would be rescued thanks to a team effort of Magic Valley first responders, including a rappel team from the Magic Valley Paramedics Special Operations Rescue Team.
What Happened: At 2:42 p.m. this afternoon, an Idaho State Police Trooper drove onto the scene of a single vehicle crash on eastbound Interstate 84 at milepost 146. The incident had just happened and the trooper arrived as dispatchers were calling emergency units to the scene.
According to witnesses, the driver of the pickup, a 2004 F-350 pulling an approximately 30-foot camp trailer, lost control. 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 below the bridge.
The Trooper was able to call to the two people inside the vehicle, who responded and said they were alert and not seriously injured. Soon after, a Gooding County Sheriff's Deputy arrived on scene and the Trooper and Deputy were able to get an additional set of chains from a semi-truck driver, attach them to the dangling pick up, and provide additional strength to hold the pickup until rescue crews could arrive.
Soon a full team of emergency responders arrived on scene including a team of specially trained rope rescue paramedics, the Magic Valley Paramedics SORT, or Special Operations Rescue Team. SORT members were transported quickly to the incident by Air St Luke's Magic Valley. Once on scene, the SORT members were able to rappel down to the dangling pickup truck and attached a harness to each victim allowing rescuers to raise each to safety.
The two occupants of the pickup, a man and woman, were wearing seat belts which also helped hold them securely in the vehicle until rescuers arrived.
Vehicle Occupants: The driver of the pickup was a 67-year-old man from Garden City, Idaho. The passenger was a 64-year-old woman, also from Garden City. Both were transported to a Magic Valley hospital with what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries.
Two small dogs were also in the pickup. Rescuers were able to get the dogs to safety as well. An ISP Trooper transported the dogs safely to the home of a family member in the Magic Valley.
"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."
"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," said Chad Smith, Field Supervisor for Magic Valley Paramedics SORT and Flight Paramedic for Air St. Luke's.
This incident remains under investigation by the Idaho State Police. The Idaho State Police would like to thank all the responding agencies:
Idaho Transportation Department, 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.