Rescuers In Semi-Crash Speak Out

Anderson County (WVLT) - Volunteers are back on the job, running emergency calls less than 12 hours after their efforts saved a trucker's life.

Hauling a load of paper, THP says a driver lost control of his tractor-trailer going northbound on I-75 near Lake City about 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

"All we seen was the trailer rolling sideways, or flipping over," Eyewitness Tim Green says.

Authorities say the cab separated from its trailer, and left the roadway, plunging over the Clinch River Bridge, falling about 17 stories into the river.

"That's a long way down," ACRS Captain Shane Cinnamon says.

Rescue Captain Shane Cinnamon repelled 175 feet down. It was his first real life rope rescue.

"So, he has nothing but a rope, and that's it, and a safety line. That's it," ACRS Chief Steven Newby says.

In the meantime, three first responders on foot climbed down the embankment to the wreckage.

"That was our best option is to send him up, instead of going through the terrain of trying to get him up the bank," ACRS Lt. Sherry Sexton says.

When Cinnamon reached the trucker, rescuers manning ropes on the bridge, hoisted both men.

"You have a lot of issues that can go wrong," Chief Newby says.

Hours after the rescue began, the pair finally rise to the bridge's ledge, but cannot go any further. Stuck at the top, the rescue chief repels over the side to help.

Cinnamon climbs over the trucker, and rescuers are then able to bring their patient over the ledge to safety.

"Glad it's over with," Cinnamon says. "Ready for a cigarette."

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