skip to main content

Semitrailer tractor collides with open trough in tunnel construction area on motorway

Category: National Firefighting Team of the Year

Fire department: Freiwillige Feuerwehr Ostfildern (Baden-Württemberg)

Operation: Truck accident at tunnel construction area

On January 2018 at one minute before 1 am, the Ostfildern Fire Department was called to the scene of a truck accident. After conclusion of the rescue operation, the FD said that it had turned out to be its most lengthy and difficult mission ever.

A semitrailer truck had entered the Denkendorf tunnel construction site on the new Stuttgart-Munich motorway link and crashed into an open trough section of the tunnel. The semitrailer had stopped on the sloping cover of the concrete-covered tunnel vault, the tractor unit was hanging freely over the approximately 10-metre deep trough on a wooden sheet piling. The cab was completely crushed, the driver trapped, and the position of the vehicle first made it impossible to gain access to the driver. 

The turntable ladder that had been requested during the approach was used as an anchor point for two height rescue crew members from Neuhausen. They were also unable to reach the driver because no hydraulic rescue equipment could be used. With two mobile cranes and a truck winch, the tractor and semitrailer could be simultaneously lifted and withdrawn until the tractor was pulled back onto the concrete tunnel roof. Access to the patient was immediately gained using hydraulic rescue devices; after first aid, the driver was rescued by the emergency response physician. 

After more than three hours, he could be handed over to the ambulance and brought to a hospital. The Denkendorf FD removed the leaked semitrailer fuel from the trough of standing water in the tunnel. During the rescue operations, the motorway lanes toward Munich were fully blocked.

In addition to the Ostfildern, Neuhausen and Denkendorf FDs, the airport plant fire department assisted with a crane vehicle.