NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
Tanker Truck Plunges into Columbia River Near The Dalles
By Sea and Coast | 28/08/2023
Emergency response agencies and salvage teams are accustomed to preparing contingency plans for tanker casualties, yet the occurrence of a double truck accident diverged from the norm. This unique incident unfolded over the weekend in the Columbia River Gorge, where environmental officials found themselves grappling with an unexpected situation: two semi trucks entered the river at the same location, albeit several hours apart.
The events transpired on Friday, starting around 2100 hours, near Biggs Junction, positioned about 15 miles east of The Dalles. The initial incident involved a Titan Freight Systems semi truck hauling two dry van trailers, traveling in the westbound direction. The truck veered off the right side of the road and plunged into the water. Oregon State Police reported that the truck collided with an abandoned car along the roadside before descending the bank into the river.
During the early hours of Saturday, the second truck-related incident took place at the same spot. This time, a second truck was towing two tank trailers when it entered the river. As it did so, it also struck an Oregon Department of Transportation response truck, which had been parked and unoccupied at the roadside. Preliminary indications suggest that the driver of the second tractor-trailer might have fallen asleep while driving, as reported by a local Fox News affiliate.
Notably, all trailers were devoid of cargo, and they remained connected. Visual evidence from the scene illustrated that the trailers possessed enough buoyancy to suspend the trucks in the water column, preventing them from sinking to the riverbed.
Miraculously, both drivers managed to escape without serious injuries. The trucks are slated to be salvaged from the water on Monday, as confirmed by the Washington State Department of Ecology. In order to facilitate the salvage operation, the highway will temporarily be closed to allow sufficient working space for the endeavor.