Submerged 18-wheeler poses weighty towing challenge in Montreal

Montreal, Quebec — June 22, 2015 — Locals have yet to figure out how to recover an 18-wheeler transport truck carrying 80,000 pounds of aluminum from the bottom of a Montreal lake.

The truck’s driver, a man in his 40s, crashed into the cement guardrail at the Ile aux Tourtes bridge at around 6:30 a.m. on June 19. The vehicle flipped over before plunging into the Lake of Two Mountains, CBC News reports.

Two nearby fisherman were on hand to pull the driver from the wreckage and into their boat. According to the Sureté du Quebec, the driver was assessed in hospital and did not suffer significant injury.

While the cause of the accident is still unclear—Sgt. Daniel Thibaudeau speculates the driver was possibly asleep or distracted—the clean-up poses its own set of questions.

Local tow truck driver Victor Mateus told CTV News that hauling the weighty 80,000 lb load ashore will be a massive undertaking that may span several days.

“We’re going to have divers,” Mateus said in the report. “There’s also a barge coming in to recover it and if the barge isn’t enough we’ll get enough cable to pull it to shore and finish off as a regular recover on land.”

CBC reports the provincial transportation minister has voiced concern over whether the bridge can handle the extra weight of the truck once pulled from the water.

Mateus told CTV that a similar challenge in 2009 called for the building of a temporary road to properly recover a vehicle.

“The last time this happened, not at this bridge but another bridge, the operation took about 15 to 18 hours, so we’re looking at a long, lengthy process that the tow truck drivers have ahead of them,” Thibaudeau said in the same report.

Environment Quebec has contained some of the transport’s leaking diesel fuel and Transport Quebec is checking the bridge for structural damage.

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