ALEXANDER — Emergency crews spent about 90 minutes working to free a truck driver Wednesday after his tanker rolled into a ditch on Chaddock Road.
The tractor-trailer was hauling an estimated 60,000 pounds of milk when it tipped about 12:30 p.m.
“There was an extensive extrication due to the damage to the cab itself, as well as how the truck kind of buried itself into some of the soil,” said Director Tim Yaeger of Genesee County Emergency Management. “It was probably a foot or more, so they were both (working to) get the driver out of the vehicle that was pinning him, as well as working against the dirt where the vehicle landed.”
Yaeger said the trucker was pinned by the dashboard and soil. He was described as conscious, alert and talking throughout the process.
“We’ve got a significant spill,” Yaeger said. “I think a lot of it was petroleum products from the engine of the tractor, and some milk product, but that seemed fairly well-contained.”
The trucker’s name was not immediately available. He was taken by Mercy Ambulance to Erie County Medical Center for treatment.
He was initially set for transport by Mercy Flight, but problems with the gurney — it couldn’t be secured adequately — meant an ambulance was used instead.
Crews kept working to remove the tractor-trailer in the meantime. They planned to transfer the milk to a second milk tanker which arrived to the scene, in order to lighten the load during the wrecked vehicle’s removal.
“There’s always going to be a fire hazard anytime there’s an automobile or truck involved, with the products they carry, so there’s always a hazard there,” Yaeger said. “The fire department responded quickly and they were able to put measures in place to make it safe.”
Yaeger said the location was very wet — near a wetland and cattails — which made the rescue and removal complex, given its position in the ditch.
Firefighers from Alexander, Bethany, the town of Batavia, Attica and Darien responded, along with state police, county sheriff’s deputies, the Genesee County Spill Response Unit, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The accident occurred on a downhill slope and curve but Yaeger declined to speculate on the cause, which remained under investigation by state police as of Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s all hands on deck,” Yaeger said of the response. “We’re going to give it everything we could. They did a fantastic job working as a team — members, firefighters medics from several agencies, along with law enforcement, to get the patient out safely.”