South-East - Queensland
36 tonne excavator recovery, but with a story that is more amazing than the recovery.
Operator with over 30 year’s experience was operating alone cleaning a dam when heavy rain hit, so he stopped work and started to walk the machine back up hill. The tracks spun, and the machine started to slide backwards. He lowered the blade, and went to catch with bucket, but to his shock it didn’t stop and slid quickly straight down into the deep dam. The cab went straight under, and the weight of the water wouldn’t allow him to open the door. With the ROPS protection he was unable to get through front or the roof hatch. As panic set in he tried kicking out side windows with no success. The bottom front window then busted under the weight of the water filling the cab in seconds. To the operators luck once the cab filled with water he found the machine settled in a depth of water to allow a centimetre air gap against the roof that he could just get his nose into to breath. He then made several attempts diving down attempting to open the door, and with luck due to the water equalizing inside and out, was able to get it open, and make his escape.
A lucky escape, and as he said it shows you can operate in some of the worst sites possible with no issues, but it’s something simple, in a split second, that can catch you out.