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Re: Get Paid or Die Trying ? ? ?


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I've closely watched tow forums regarding recoveries in the wake of Hurricane Ida. I understand that there's "money to be made", but at what risk to safety and survival is to be contemplated? Perhaps this is the place to send a reminder that; flowing water can be deadly noting the Connecticut State Trooper who drowned yesterday having reportedly driven into floodwaters only to be swept away and found downstream outside of his police cruiser.


There’s huge risk to health and safety in-entering rapid water and it’s my opinion to let floodwaters’ subside first, and then go get it. Guess what, the danger of being swept away no longer exists and the car most likely will still be there. If water sweeps a #4,000-pound police car away, it certainly will take a #200-pound pedestrian to their death. And, for a fact, a uniformed operator wearing heavy boots and rain gear may barely be able to tread-water if swept away. There’s no job worth dying for.


In the next issue of American Towman is my article in-memory of John Elliott Buell, a tow owner operator who drowned in 1942 trying to rescue an unoccupied car. I know that towers take risks all the time, and that perhaps explains why the mortality rates are far higher than other industries … just food for thought.


FYI:  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9953985/Veteran-Connecticut-state-trooper-50-killed-cruiser-washed-away-floodwaters.html

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Randall C. Resch

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Well said Randy. If I may add, even when there is immediate threat to life (meaning a rescue attempt) it is still best to wait until proper safety gear is available and deployed. Having worked closely with our local swift water rescue technicians and growing up just outside the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area we see several drownings each year on the Delaware River in relatively calm water. Flood surge and rushing water only amplifies that risk. You are of no help to anyone if you become a victim of the environment yourself. Always use appropriate discipline in deciding how/when to conduct any operation.


One of my earliest recovery memories with my father was removing a Toyota 4x4 pickup truck with big 35" tires that had floated away while trying to ford the Delaware River in only 6 inches of water. The current was enough to sweep the truck off the slippery rocks into deeper water just downstream resulting in the truck becoming wedged on a rock outcropping in the center of the river. After the rescue crew removed the passengers they then assisted my dad and another local tower in attaching winch lines to the vehicle so it could be winched back to shore. Quite a process and it made a lasting impression on just how powerful moving water is! Fortunately with that one there were no injuries, not everyone is that lucky when entering flowing water with a vehicle.

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