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Tie-off ideal for a wrecker?

pantheraba

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I am on our local Dive Team....search, rescue, recovery for water situations (bodies, evidence, etc.). We also do land work but this question is water related.

We recently did our second vehicle recovery at this bridge site on the Chattahoochee River. There is a boat ramp upstream and local bad folks seem to like to launch cars from that ramp. The cars float downstream and often lodge right there at the bridge. (the one we recovered about 2 years ago had been stolen from the Atlanta Police impound lot!!!) No bodies found in cars yet.

About three weeks ago we got called to check this car out (video below). They have us on standby in case there are bodies need to be recovered in the car. For this particular operation we had to launch our boat, get people in the boat, go downstream, navigate and hold a stable position while the people in the boat passed a lifting strap through the roof of the car.

All went fine but it was a bit time-consuming and laborious.

I started wondering if this could be done without using the boat. I figure I could set up an anchor point perhaps on the and of the wrecker arm. Then rappel down on ddrt system as we do in trees...I could lower myself down to the roof and be secure and stable while I passed the strap through the top of the car, hook it up to the wrecker cable and then I could ascend my rope back up to the bridge.

I could remove myself from the wrecker apparatus and let them lift the car out of the river once I was back on the road above.

I'm wondering what you guys recommend as a good way to make a good anchor point so that I could run my rope thru a belay block or rescue pulley and go DDRT down to the target car.

Maybe a chain around the wrecker arm, securing the ends with a screw link? Or a nylon double eye strap, heavy duty? Attach a rescue pulley to the chain with a biner (lockable, of course) and descend/ascent with that? Open to suggestions.

You can see the wrecker "arm" in the first 7 seconds and at 3:37 and 6:50.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RSEaSA12z_M" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

Jonny

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I’ll bet you’d be right depending on how old the car is.
More modern cars are likely built to withstand some roll overs so strong roof structures, yeah? I might be totally full of shit but it makes sense to me.

I like the idea, Gary. Can’t see why it wouldn’t work.
I’d probably want the keys for the wrecker locked up.
Look into lock out/ tag out if you’re unfamiliar with it.
I reckon the owner of the wrecker wouldn’t be cool with you keeping the ignition keys in your pocket, but something should be done to ensure nobody can possibly try driving away.
 

DMc

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Gary, with an MRS you are going to have half your rope in the water unless you bag it. Why not go with an SRS and just tie off to the boom? Easy down and up.
 

pantheraba

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Good idea on the tagout, Jonny...thanks.

DMc...I thought about wet rope....would likely bag it...or have a teammate tend it from the bridge could work better than bagging (when I bag rope in a tree I don't really like it).

SRS maybe...I thought about it, too. But, I am still working into SRT...waiting for a chest harness from Swingdude now. I ordered two and they are on the way.

I'll have to get SRT nailed down before I employ it for something like this.
 

MasterBlaster

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Gary doesn't need to hold the keys as long as the truck driver doesn't have them. Let someone else topside hang on to them.
 

pantheraba

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Yep...makes sense. Someone that's paying attention is what matters. They run outriggers...it'd be a bit of an operation to move the truck.
 

Mellow

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You'd still need the boat as a backup, or another qualified climber to back you up in case things go sideways while you're down there. Then there's the liability to think about; how does the wrecker company feel about people hanging from their rigs?
 

pantheraba

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Those are all good points. Maybe have a kayak on site rather than a motorboat.

Firefighters are always there...they have rappel training...ascending, probably not.

The liability might be a big issue.
 

SeanKroll

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Gary, no offense, SRT is not like sending a human into space, or the depths of the sea, and asking them to come back like normal people. Not even rocket science.

I thought of an SRT 3:1, with the tail at the bridge. Get other people haul you up, and descend on an SRT device.



Maybe there is a lot more to SRT than I realize...a lot of people think its complicated...just climbing a 'fixed' rope after being able to climb a moving rope. DdRT seems way more complicated to me.
 

flushcut

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Have the tow company invest in an electromagnet for their rig. No broken windows and preserved evidence. Maybe, shooting from the hip.
 

pantheraba

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hahaha...I assume there is some crazy current going to the magnet. Lowering into water? Sometimes they are a few feet under and we can see them from bridge.

I'll be sure to have the video running....:D
 

Tree09

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I could definitely see how just dropping down on there would be much nicer than working out of a boat! This was my problem working construction after doing tree work for a bit, no matter what i was working on, i wanted to set a line and so i could just go anywhere... climb down this and up that just to go right over there?.... eff that I'll just swing right to it hahahahahaha. Are you wanting ddt so you can pull your rope out of the way or because you aren't used to srt? Srt is very easy man, I'm shocked you aren't using it yet (if that's the case), trust me if i can do it so can anyone. I would think srt would be safer in case the rope tail gets caught on something too, which would be a high likelihood working on wrecked cars in a river. You don't need a bunch of gear to work srt, even a 3 to one rads system works decently enough and can operate using a petzil rig or similar device.

When i finally did start applying rope work to construction, i approached it exactly how the industrial rope access work was done so that way it was done to the standards expected in that discipline. I'll admit i found it overkill, but then again there's a reason they demand such overkill in the first place. I'm not familiar with rescue work rope standards (the environment you will be operating in), but i imagine they are similar to the overkill i experienced and forced myself to deal with for professionalism and safety liability. I would bet that the crews you are dealing with look to you for your expertise, because they likely understand your badassery and multiple discipline expertise. However if the standards are as the industrial side is, i would voluntarily adopt them so no questions could ever be raised about your actions and experience.

You could always girth hitch a friction saver to the boom to get an anchor point. An srt line is also retrivable with an alpine butterfly with safety carb acting as a jam knot, and can actually be used to limit the rope tail as well.
 

Altissimus

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Those are all good points. Maybe have a kayak on site rather than a motorboat.

Firefighters are always there...they have rappel training...ascending, probably not.

The liability might be a big issue.
... If the Fire Dept. is always there why not deploy and decsend off one of their Truck Mount Ladders ... Could be solution for liability as F.D. could consider it rescue access and the Wrecker would only be liable for wreck recovery. Just a thought.
 

vharrison

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Gary, I just love the way your mind works. You are thinking it through, figuring out if there is a better way to do it.

Looks like the current is ripping through there, best at slack tide,eh? What does the tide give you , like 20 minutes before it starts ripping again? Not long.
 

pantheraba

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Gigi...you ARE an Island Girl. Tides in our Chattahoochee?? hahaha...no worries there...constant flow, whatever it happens to be due to rainfall upstream.

Re: fire ladder truck...good question there...I did wonder about that, too. I have seen them use them horizontal to recover a body that was in a dump truck that ran into a retention pond. They called us on a Dec. night to recover the man but the FF's had their ladder extended and had just retrieved him when we got there.

My son is a FF...they are starting to check into buying a ladder truck for their city. I'll see what he can tell me about working off a horizontal ladder and how they are rated for that.

Re: SRT...I can see where it would be "cleaner" with rope deployment. The few times I did it the body positioning (no chest harness) was a problem. And I didn't have a Haas type leg device, just my one Pantin. I just haven't pushed on it yet. It'll happen soon.
 

theTreeSpyder

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If Chain Basket(2 support connections/ends to pulley), would stay away form flat teepee at connection, but would give round turn first around arm.
Note arm seems square/rectangular not magic round shape of gradual receding cosine giving up to sine gradual exchange of forces from tension in chain device
>>would put in anti-slide light rope uphill from chain, hill keeps from upward creep, restriction locks against downward creep/slide
Will not grip same as round host support, can even try 2 leg support of prussic(but pulls off 1 side of rectangle support), would still consider anti slide locks of build.
Other deformity could suffice as anti-slide down. want some slant in arm for force column anyway.
Flat webbing could lay tight, low efficiency loss, but on other axis defame very easy on slide stop because very little strength on that minimal axis, super towing webbing strength probably over-rule that part of math though ; especially thicker, more power against deform.
.
Slow climb in DdRT back up, handling 2x as much rope as drop, more than usual windsway possible funneling out under bridge w/total exposure possibly wet.i'd think safety wise should evacuate on arm before car, if using same arm for support, as for as loading and other complications.
.
Of course could get lazy and ride on car..
This could bring liability questions and red flag from wrecker crew that (mite)never signs off on life support due to insurance coverage cyaPolicy etc.>>be prepared for said argument.
.
 

Marc-Antoine

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If the car isn't exactly plumb under the wrecker's boom, or a bit too much under the surface, you still need the boat to help your final positioning, so you can use it to leave the scene. No need to climb up again.
The car spinning afterward and entangling the rope around the cable could be a problem though.
 

pantheraba

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Thanks for input Kenny...roundturn is good and no-creep limiters, too. Had not thought of wind funneling but good advice.

I would definitely vacate the car/lift area before letting them lift. Too many variables to ride with car.

Marc-Antoine...my hope is to be able to do it without deploying the boat...If the boat is there I'd have the boat captain do his thing like in the video...he's a good driver, able to stabilize as needed.
 
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