Rescue of truck driver dangling from bridge was a team effort, firefighter says

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky firefighter who rappelled off a bridge to rescue the driver of a tractor-trailer as it dangled precariously over the Ohio River says he played just a small part of the successful rescue.

Louisville firefighter Bryce Carden credited teamwork as he talked about the rescue on “Good Morning America” on Monday.

“I played a very small piece in a large puzzle,” said Carden, attributing the success to “the guys topside and guys on the bottom who helped make it happen.”

Jaw-dropping photos and video captured Friday’s rescue of the driver from her cab, which hung over the side of the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge between Louisville, Kentucky, and southern Indiana.

The truck driver was rescued unharmed, but three other cars were involved in the crash, and two people were taken to the hospital, Louisville Metro Police have said.

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Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said it happened when a southbound vehicle hit a stalled car and crossed into northbound traffic, colliding with the tractor-trailer, which went through a guardrail.

The trailer ended up between the bridge’s girders, balanced on the edge with the cab hanging over the water, and there was constant concern during the rescue that the truck could shift at any moment, Louisville Fire Chief Brian O’Neill said at a press conference after the rescue.

“It’s extremely lucky, not so much much that it would detach from the trailer, but just that the entire truck didn’t go into the river,” O’Neill said.

It took about 40 minutes to set up a rope system and get Carden ready to rappel down to the cab, hook the driver up to a safety harness and lift her safely back to the bridge surface. She was taken to the hospital as a precaution, he said.

Three lanes of the bridge reopened to traffic Saturday evening after an inspection. The bridge will need repairs, particularly to a pedestrian sidewalk, but the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said its structural integrity was not compromised.

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