Woman Rescued Thanks to Garbage Truck Winch – True Story

Written by Tim Esterdahl | Comment Now »

A winch can save you a headache when out off-roading, but what about saving your life? Trapped in a car on fire, a woman was saved by a resourceful good Samaritan and a garbage truck winch. Check out this true story!

Woman Saved Thanks to Garbage Truck Winch - True Story

A woman survived this fiery accident thanks to quick thinking and a garbage truck winch.

This horrific crash happened on July 23, 2014 on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. The driver of a Wah Farm Produce Company truck rear-ended a garbage truck. A seemingly common accident turned into a fiery, emergency situation when the driver, Li Zeliang, became trapped in the box truck that was leaking fuel. Unable to escape the damaged, burning truck, Zeliang was pinned, badly hurt and her hair was on fire. Two first res ponders were using fire extinguisher to douse the fire, but they weren’t keeping up.

At the time of the accident, it just so happened MTA Bridge and Tunnel Chief James Fortunato came across the scene. Realizing the gravity of the situation, he knew he had to act fast. Here is the account from The Staten Island Advance on what happened next:

Fortunato soon realized they were running out of time to free her. So he crawled underneath the truck. “I said, ‘I’ve got one shot at this.’ I go under the truck while it’s still on fire. … I see a piece of chassis that I can get with the cable,” he said.
Fortunato then hitched the winch to it and had the garbage truck driver pull the box truck off the railing. By then, the FDNY had arrived, and officers were able to remove the woman, “which they would not have been able to do if the truck was still crushed against the right-hand-lane railing,” Ms. Glave said.

Incredibly, his quick thinking and a handy winch saved the woman’s life. According to reports she was taken to a local hospital with “many of the bones in her face were broken and shattered, and she suffered deep cuts and severe burns throughout her body.”

Fortunato told the Advance, “She’s got a 50-50 chance. I’m agonizing over her condition but I would be agonizing worse if I stopped [trying to help].”

Quite the winch rescue story. What’s your best winch story? Let us know below.

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