Crane pulls camper, SUV from sewer lagoon

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 5:37 PM EST
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TOWN OF ORLEANS, New York (WWNY) - A crane fishing an SUV and a camper from a sewer lagoon. That’s what was going on Thursday in an area behind the Orleans town barn.

Officials say removing them was a delicate task and divers had to be sent in.

“This instance they had to pick it straight up because it was a treatment plant and they’ve got in-line filters,” said Lafargeville Fire Chief Wade Ingalls.

During Wednesday night’s storm, the SUV along with its attached camper and two occupants plunged through ice and into the water.

“Nobody seems to know why or how they ended up out there. They went through two gates,” said Ingalls.

Rescuers soon realized there was a language barrier since the vehicles’ occupants, an older couple, exclusively spoke French.

The chief tells us LaFargeville’s fire department lacked the tools for a water rescue so they called in engines from Clayton.

“We had them respond. In the meantime we were using ladders and ropes, trying to throw them out to them. Trying to get the occupants out of the vehicle and out of the water,” said Ingalls.

Time was of the essence during the rescue since cold temperatures could’ve led to hypothermia.

“The longer you stay in there, your body pretty much shuts down. The quicker we got them out, the better it was,” said Ingalls.

Both occupants were hoisted to safety in about 30 minutes.

“They said they were fine. They were just cold. They needed a place to stay and I don’t know where they went from there,” said Ingalls.

On Thursday, crews were able to clear the site after about an hour of work. The next step is assessing the damage.