|June 1, 2017
Approximate time: 0100
Weather Conditions: Clear
Contacted by Chester County 911 Center, West Fire Dispatch on behalf of the Cochranville Fire Company requesting
us to respond immediately to Gap Newport Pike in the area of our Cochranville location with one of our heavy duty
sliding rotator recovery units to assist on a serious motor vehicle accident involving a tractor trailer and entrapment.
One of our recovery supervisors was onscene with a tractor trailer up an embankment. The trailer portion of the unit
was severely leaning and in danger of overturning. There was a Kia Forte underneath the front of the tractor portion of
the tractor trailer unit. The operator of the Kia was heavily entrapped inside the car underneath the front of the tractor
portion of the tractor trailer unit.. A second rotator was requested to the scene.
Our first rotator operator that was dispatched, arrived onscene with one of our heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units
moments after being requested by the fire department over the radio. Our operator met with the incident commander.
It was quickly determined by Fire and EMS units onscene, that the driver of the car was deceased. Troopers from the
Pennsylvania State Police Avondale Barracks were onscene and requested that the extrication process be stopped and
that nothing be moved until they were able to photograph the scene, and determine if an accident scene reconstruction
was going to take place.
A Peterbilt tractor pulling a Wilkens walking floor trailer that was loaded with mulch, was travelling south on Gap Newport
Pike when the Kia Forte entered Gap Newport Pike from Cochran Street directly in the path of the tractor trailer. The
two vehicles violently collided, causing major damage to both vehicles. The steering axle on the tractor trailer unit was
compromised in the collision causing the unit to veer across the roadway. As a result of the impact, the car became
lodged underneath the front end of the tractor trailer unit. The tractor trailer pushed the car across the roadway with it,
up a steep embankment and into the field. The tractor trailer came to rest on top of the car with the operator of the car
trapped underneath the tractor trailer. Both vehicles suffered major damage in the collision. The trailer was severely
twisted from being on the embankment and was in danger of overturning.
Our recovery supervisor notified our dispatcher of the situation. Based on the determination, the second rotator was
placed on stand-by until we were given the go ahead. The supervisor advised that once given the go ahead, we would
need a rollback for the car, the second rotator, a truck tractor for the trailer, our tracked skid steer, and road sweeper
transported to the scene, and for Null's Recovery & Site Restoration to respond to the scene with one of their Incident
Response Units and their excavator. The supervisor requested that the equipment be placed on stand-by to be ready
to respond to the scene when we were given the go ahead by PSP.
Two of our portable light towers were set-up at the scene to provide supplemental scene lighting and a safe work area
for personnel onscene.
At approximately 0306, we were given the go ahead to begin the recovery. It was requested that we have the roadway
reopened prior to the morning rush hour and prior to the school buses beginning their routes as Gap Newport Pike is
the primary route to the Octorara Schools.
The supervisor requested that the equipment that had been placed on stand by be dispatched to the scene.
One of the heavy duty sliding rotator recovery units was positioned in the roadway beside the tractor trailer unit. Room
had to be left for the fire department's rescue truck as the operator of the Kia would need to be extricated from the
vehicle once the tractor trailer was lifted off of the vehicle. The rotator was set up on a work platform. The boom was
rotated clockwise and extended out over top of the front of the truck tractor. Rigging was connected to the tractor's
frame rails and routed between the firewall and the severely damaged hood. The tractor's front axle was chained in
place as it was completely knocked loose from the impact. The engine and transmission were also knocked loose and in
danger of falling out of the tractor. This rigging was connected to one of the rotator's main boom winches, tensioned,
While this was being done, the second heavy duty sliding rotator recovery unit was positioned at the rear of the unit and
set up on a work platform, it's boom was rotated counter clockwise and extended. Rigging was connected to the rear of
the trailer and to the rear of the truck tractor. The rigging was connected to the main boom winch lines, tensioned, and
inspected in order to hold the tractor trailer unit upright and prevent it from overturning while the extrication process was
Once the tractor trailer unit was stabilized, the rotator at the front of the unit cautiously lifted the front of the tractor unit
approximately three feet. Once the tractor was lifted enough that the car could be removed from underneath of it, our
tracked loader was utilized to lift the car with the deceased operator still trapped inside and move it out from underneath
the front end of the truck. The car was positioned so that the fire department, EMS, PSP, and the coroner's office could
perform the tasks that they needed. The fire department extricated the operator from the car. Once the operator was
extricated and the coroner's office removed the body from the area, the car was carried from the field to the roadway
and set onto one of our rollbacks. The car was secured via a four point tie down, the roof, doors, and other car parts
were secured. The car and vehicle parts were transported from the scene back to our secure storage facility.
While the extrication was taking place, the recovery of the tractor trailer was placed on hold for safety reasons. While
the extrication was being performed, NR&SR worked to dig out around the tractor's fuel tanks to prevent them from
The recovery of the loaded tractor trailer unit was a tedious process due to the precarious location the unit came to
rest. The two rotators had to work closely together to bring the unit down off of the embankment without causing the
unit to overturn or cause any further damage to the unit. The rotator at the back provided lift to the low side of the
tractor trailer unit while winching the unit backwards and sideways off of the embankment. The rotator at the front
provided lift to the front of the tractor to ensure the fuel tanks, hydraulic tank, and oil pan were not dragging the ground,
and to steer the front end of the unit down off of the embankment.
Once the entire unit was off of the embankment, the front end of the tractor was rotated back onto the roadway so that it
could be hooked to for transport from the scene. The rigging was removed, inspected, and returned to its respective
location. Both of the rotators were returned to travel position. The rotator at the front of the unit was repositioned and
prepared to hook to the front of the severely damaged tractor. Air was supplied to the tractor, the driveline was
removed, and secondary attachments were installed. The truck tractor and trailer were separated. The damaged truck
tractor was moved clear of the trailer. One of our truck tractors hooked to the loaded trailer.
The truck and trailer were transported from the accident scene to our Cochranville storage facility where they were
placed in our secure storage yard.
Several of our personnel remained onscene to work with NR&SR on the clean up of the roadway, embankment, and field
along with the restoration of the scene.
Our street sweeper swept the roadway that was affected by the accident.
Once the scene was returned to pre accident conditions, both our tracked loader and street sweeper were loaded back
onto our Landoll trailer and secured for transport back to our facility. Once back at our facility, the equipment was
unloaded and made ready for the next call.
A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE COCHRANVILLE FIRE COMPANY FOR THEIR
HELP ONSCENE ALONG WITH THE CHRISTIANA AND COCHRANVILLE FIRE
POLICE FOR THEIR HELP WITH TRAFFIC CONTROL!