Swift water rescue team, firefighters rescue stranded motorist from flood waters

For immediate Release:
From Lawrence County Fire & Rescue
On March 9th, 2019 just after 9pm Lawrence County Fire Rescue Units were dispatched to the area of East Beasley Road for a call that two occupied vehicles had been swept downstream from the roadway. An immediate response was initiated from Crawfish Valley Fire Department, and the Lawrence County/Lawrenceburg Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Strike Team. First arriving units were able to locate one of the two vehicles in the water, in a wooded area approximately 500 yards away from the bridge. The occupant of the vehicle was found to be on the top of the vehicle, with water covering 80% of the vehicle. Strike team personnel were able to successfully effect a rescue of the victim who was trapped on top of the vehicle.

The rescue was conducted by deploying a swimmer to the vehicle, and hauling the victim, and rescuer back to the shore via a rope/haul system built by rescuers. During this time, members of Crawfish Valley FD along with other members of the swift water rescue strike team were able to make contact with the second vehicle which was found to be on its side, approximately 3/4 of a mile from the bridge. The second vehicle was 90% submerged in the swift water. Rescuers deployed rescue swimmers to the vehicle to conduct a search of the submerged vehicle for victims. After a search of the vehicle yielded no results, additional rescuers joined in a search of the waterway, and the adjoining land/shore. Additional water rescuers from neighboring Maury, and Giles County were requested to our County to provide mutual aid. A request was also made to the Tennessee Highway Patrol for a response from their Aviation unit. As a result, a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter equipped with FLIR equipment was dispatched to the scene. The aircraft, and the FLIR system were used to search the area from overhead for the occupant of the vehicle. The aircraft’s crew searched the waterway from the East Beasley Road bridge, to the David Crockett State Park. The search yielded no signs of the occupant of the vehicle. During this time, law enforcement officers that were investigating the incident began following up on information that had been gathered at the scene.
Several hours into the operation, the decision was made to suspend operations due to responder safety concerns, and evidence that the occupant of the vehicle may have left the scene.
Emergency personnel returned to the scene this morning after daylight to conduct additional searches of the waterway, the vehicles involved, and the adjoining properties. The search was conducted both by boat, and on foot. At the request of the incident commander, the Lawrenceburg Utility System responded with their drone, and video equipment. As a result of today’s operation, we still have not located the driver of the vehicle, but more evidence was gathered. Search efforts have since been discontinued, and the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the incident.
The victim that was rescued from the first vehicle did not require any medical treatment.
The Lawrence County / Lawrenceburg Swift Water Rescue Strike Team was officially established last month. The newly established strike team is comprised of members of Ethridge, Center Point, and Lawrenceburg Fire Department Personnel.