AN ELDERLY couple was rescued on Monday after their pickup truck went crashing off a bridge, leaving them dangling 100 feet over a canyon in southern Idaho.
The 2004 Ford F-350 pickup was saved from falling into the gorge below by a pair of camp trailer safety chains linking it to a 30-foot camper trailer, which remained on the bridge.
Idaho State Police responded to the accident at around 2.45pm on Monday, finding two people trapped inside the vehicle hanging nose-down off the side of the bridge over the Malad Gorge.
Authorities identified the driver as a 67-year-old man and the passenger as a 64-year-old woman, both from Garden City. They have not been named.
Both occupants were taken to Magic Valley hospital but ISP spokeswoman Lynn Hightower told The Associated Press their injuries are not life-threatening.
Two small dogs were also rescued from the truck and are now staying with a family member living nearby.
When authorities first arrived, a state trooper and local sheriff’s deputy used an extra set of chains from a nearby semi-truck to hold the pickup in place until teams with extra equipment could get to the scene.
"We attached some chains to the rear of the vehicle to make sure the chains that were presently holding it, didn’t break," said Idaho State Trooper Jeremy Banfield.
"I was just at the right place at the right time," tow truck driver Rodney Drury said of witnessing the crash and rushing to the couple's aid.
"Actually, I give all the credit to God that I was there because that truck was holding on by just a little chain when I looked over.
"I knew there were people in that truck and I didn’t want to see it fall."
Emergency crews with cranes and rope rescue gear were then able to rappel down to the fallen truck and secure a harness to each of the occupants trapped inside.
It is not clear what caused the pickup to veer off the bridge. Witnesses said that it appeared to lose control just before the crash.
The truck swerved into the right shoulder barrier before it broke over the left-side guardrail.
The camper remained on the bridge cutting off both lanes of traffic after the truck slipped over the side.
The gorge the couple were hanging over is narrow but wide, reaching to 100 feet just below the bridge, the height of a ten-story building. In other sections, it reaches as deep as 250 feet.
"It was terrifying," Hightower said of the crash.
"It was definitely a heroic rescue from everybody that was out there, and thankfully, they're all fine.
"A rescue like this takes a lot of quick thinking and action but this is what they train for.
"That training just paid off today, and two people are alive because of the hours and hours of training that these emergency responders do," she added.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Deputies from Gooding, Jerome, and Twin Falls responded to the incident, as well as the regional sheriff’s office and fire department.
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