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Trailer safety chain stops couple’s pickup from plunging into Idaho gorge

When trucker Rod Drury pulled up to the wrecked camper on the Malad Gorge Bridge on I-84 near the Snake River in southern Idaho on Monday afternoon, he was sure it was the scene of a fatality. And it almost was. As he approached the wreck, he realized that over the edge of the bridge, still attached to the camper only by the trailer safety chain, was a Ford F-350 pickup, dangling nose down over the gorge.

Inside was the 67-year-old driver and his 64-year-old wife, from Garden City, Idaho, along with their two small dogs.

“I was like, I don’t even want to look over,” Drury said. An Idaho state trooper arrived as Drury did, and other first responders arrived quickly after. Together, they anchored more chains from the pickup to Drury’s big rig. 

A rappel team from Magic Valley Paramedics Special Operations Rescue Team made its way down to the truck, attached harnesses to the occupants, and got them back to the bridge deck. The couple suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were treated at a nearby hospital. The dogs were unhurt.

“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.”

“You know, this is a God thing,” said Drury, the trucker. “I’m looking at life a little bit differently today, that’s for sure.”

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