Yellowknife, Northwest Territories — June 11, 2015 — After spending the last month submerged in the icy waters of Pontoon Lake, a brand-new Ford F-350 diesel truck has finally reached dry land.
The $80,000 truck broke through the brittle, 25-cm thick lake ice on the night of May 5, sinking around 4.5 metres and leaving a gaping hole in its wake. The 2012 model’s owner, a Yellowknife firefighter, and his dogs escaped the incident unharmed.
Exactly four weeks later, on June 2, a team made up of local towers, auto recyclers and scuba divers took on the 10-hour task of recovering the sunken truck, EDGE YK reports.
The team relied on the efforts of two boats and drysuit-clad divers to locate the truck, obscured by murky water. Divers then shackled two 1.5-metre-long, .5-metre-wide inflatable bladders to the F-350.
“Between the two, they can float about 9000 pounds,” tow truck driver Jonathan Brett, working alongside auto recycler Garth Eggenberger, told EDGE, adding that the bladders, pumped full with an air compressor, buoyed the truck’s rear in around 10 minutes.
To contain leaking oil or diesel, a spill-containment boom surrounded the truck, and despite a few hiccups—namely straps snapping and the truck overturning—the F-350 was successfully hauled ashore and onto the tilted bed of a tow truck.
“The electrical is destroyed and the interior is really stinky and waterlogged,” Brett said in the report. “But we were surprised at how good a condition it was in: one broken headlight, one dent in the door.”
The truck currently sits in the Age Automotive recycling yard, waiting to be sold locally for parts or transported to Edmonton. The recovery, in addition to the cost of the truck, was backed by the vehicle owner’s insurance company.