Calliope SES to the Rescue

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 00:00

Sir Kev

Last night is a night that will go into the memory banks for a long time to come.

I had just settled down in front to the T.V (about 7pm) to watch the Wallabies take on Italy when the phone rings. It was the SES Group leader wanting to know if I was able to attend a vehicle recover "NOW" , Thinking the Wallabies were a "Sure Bet" to win I agreed and quickly organised a few bits to take with me.

Our SES Group is usually called upon to recover vehicles that involve "Mud" or haul lengths that are too great for the local "Towie". We have an Old Truck with an 8 Tonne PTO winch, which has a down hill cruising speed of 75km/h.

The recover last night started off as a 3 vehicle recovey on the Mud Flats at Barney Point in Gladstone. The mud flats are the standard bottomless bog once the crust is broken.

When we arrive at the site, the number of vehicles to be recover had reduced to 1 as the local "Towie" was able to winch the first 2 out.

I might now add that 2 of the three vehicles that we were to recover from the Mud Flats were QLD Police vehicles hahahahaha
The third was a Jeep who was unregistered but went to the aid of the closest Police vehicle but sunk to his axles very very quickly.
The closest Police vehicle was a Troopy that also was going to the rescue of the one that was initially stuck but road pressures on that surface means they soon discovered that sinking feeling and started playing in the mud.

With the Troopy and Jeep recovered when we arrived, we asked the Copper in charge where the other vehicle was, his reply was out there as he pointed towards the distant reflection on the mud flats.
It was a standard Falcon Sedan patrol vehicle that was used to chase kids on their dirt bikes LOL Funnily enough the kids weren't caught. We walked out the the vehicle and had a look to see if we could extract it with out having to winch it out. When we got there it soon became obvious that it wasn't going any where without major external assistance as it was down onto the floor pan in the bottomless bog.

I commented to the Copper who was "Guarding" the wallowing vehicle that he had done well to get it this far. He quickly replied that he wasn't the driver, as they had sent the driver and partner to do all the beat jobs until their shift ended, then they were to come back and take over.

The total distance the vehicle was out on the mud flats was about 300m. We were going to drive the Groups Troopy out and winch it out but was over ruled by the Local Police Inspector who decreed that no more vehicles were to drive on the mud flats :(
I am certain that the Troopy would have driven over the mud flats if it was prepared properly, i.e. drop the tyre pressures and not make hard turns that dig the front tyres in to the crust to the bog below.

So with that effectively ruled out we had to run a winch line out to the vehicle. We had about 250m worth of cable with us in the Truck so we commenced setting that up. At the same time we then had the issue of working out where to connect the Vehicle up to. It didn't have a tow bar so we had to dig down through the mud to get a strap around the rear passenger wheel wishbone assembly, which was quite an effort as we had to clear the shock , brake lines, callipers etc.
We ended up about 50m short of cable to reach the vehicle so we had to find a few alternate bits to use.
I finally realised that the others hadn't used our standard recovery kits and there was still 2 x 20m winch extension straps in them, but even with them we came up just short.
A length of drag chain was then added to the line and completed the run.

Then we added as many winch dampeners as we could find over the cables etc made a large exclusion zone and commenced winching the vehicle at about 10pm.

We only had to winch the vehicle about 10m before it was able to drive under it's own steam. In reverse for about 300m along the length of cable just in case it sunk again we drove the police car out of there.

I should also not that it was the first time I was actually encouraged to let the tyres down on a police car by police LOL

I have some photos being sent to me soon so hopefully they turn out.

All up we had everything sorted and I rolled back into home at Midnight to find out that the Wallabies won and everyone else was in bed.

Now I need to clean my gear as it is covered in black sticky mud.
Russell Coight:
He was presented with a difficult decision: push on into the stretching deserts, or return home to his wife.
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