When a vehicle drove off the end of Green River Ferry on Tuesday and immediately became submerged in the icy waters, emergency personnel started working together, literally within minutes. Mammoth Cave Officials reported that the call for help came in at 2:14 pm, and almost immediately, Park Rangers were on the scene. They were the first of what would be a huge number of emergency responders working together to recover the vehicle and any passengers.
Pat Prunty, director of Edmonson County Emergency Management was on scene, helping to coordinate the rescue effort. "Everyone there was ready to work the second they arrived. All the manpower and equipment was ready to go from the start," Prunty said of all the agencies present.
At the scene, a large team immediately formed, made up of Edmonson County's Rescue Squad, EMS, and members from several county fire departments. In addition to US Park Rangers, The Warren County Rescue Squad and Dive Team were also present, along with the Barren County Dive Team, the Austin Tracy VFD (equipped with a rescue boat), Barren County Emergency Management, KY Regional Emergency Management, and Walker Wrecker Service.
"Whatever needed to be done, was done," Prunty said. "The current was so swift, it was simply too dangerous for the divers to go down and hook to the vehicle." Prunty said that divers would go under with a tow cable in hand, only to be washed downstream, far away from the vehicle. Prunty said that the vehicle was finally removed when a drag was created with the tow cable, hooking to the vehicle, which allowed the wrecker to pull it out. Rescuers worked 7 hours straight in the effort.
Two victims were found inside the vehicle, both deceased. "Even though the end result was tragic, at least the family members can have closure during this difficult time," said Prunty. "We did everything that could be done, thankfully we were able to recover the vehicle before the winter storm hit. It would have been nearly impossible to find the vehicle in those conditions."
One source said that the vehicle was a late 90's minivan and that the victims were from Hart County, but Mammoth Cave Officials did not confirm that. The names of the victims are being withheld until proper family has been notified.