Cumberland Times-News

March 21, 2013

A life saved

Driver of sinking rig rescued from icy Potomac

Cumberland Times-News

— We frequently see it on the television news: A vehicle has gone off the road into a river or a lake, and citizens and first-responders rush to rescue the driver and any passengers.

It rarely happens in our area, but two days ago it did.

A tractor-trailer loaded with railroad ties plummeted into the frigid Potomac River near Green Spring. The driver was trapped inside and probably had only a few minutes to live.

Two employees of Koppers Inc., the source of the railroad ties, were alerted and went to the scene a mile away.

One was Cresaptown Volunteer Fire Department Ryan Hill; the other was unidentified.

Hill made his way onto the rig’s cab and was able to free the driver, who was about to be fully submerged and had been trying to break out a window. First-responders from Bowling Green, Oldtown and Springfield, W.Va., soon showed up, and the story had a happy ending.

The driver, who later was indentified as Alberto Martinez, was taken to a hospital.

Hill returned to Koppers, changed his clothes and resumed working. The other first-responders went back to doing whatever they do ... when they’re not dropping everything to go and try to save someone’s life or property.

We’re fortunate to have such people, who are devoted to keeping us safe, and who know how to do it, even at the risk of their own lives.

Again, our deepest thanks to all of them.