The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Wednesday was a beautiful day, and Clyde Looper, 80, thought putting his boat in at Shadyside Lake to do some fishing was a fine idea.
While backing his truck and boat trailer down the ramp, however, something went wrong and suddenly the weight of the rig began dragging his 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup into the water.
About 10:30 a.m., the truck and trailer disappeared beneath the surface entirely with Looper still at the wheel.
However, the driver side door was ajar. After the pressure equalized, Looper was able to escaped and reach shore. By that time, passers-by stepped in to make sure he was OK, released his Bass tracker from the trailer, and called 911.
“I got too far down the ramp and couldn’t pull forward and it just kept pulling me back,” said Looper, still damp from his unexpected dunking. “I’ve come out here a lot of times and never had this happen before...I was just able to get out. I’m lucky to be alive.”
Robert Wellons, who was nearby at the time, watched the mishap unfold. He helped Looper to shore and released the boat from the trailer and tied it up nearby.
“I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that he (Wellons) saved his lilfe, based on what I’ve learned,” said Anderson Police Officer Mike Moore. “There’s just no doubt about that.”
“It was kind of scary there for a minute,” said Rick French. “He was was completely underwater. I was glad to see his head pop up.”
Members of the Anderson Fire Department dive team and two wreckers from AWS Wrecker were called to help pull the truck out of the water, but it took a couple of hours, and became a spectator event both from shore and boats on the lake.
“I would be pretty mad to see my truck disappear like that, but he handled it pretty well,” said Jacob Maxwell who lives nearby.
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