Off-roaders everywhere were given a cautionary tale this week when news broke about a Ford Bronco stuck underwater near Bar Harbor, Maine. The fan-favorite SUV wandered a bit too far off a sandbar during low tide, only to be swallowed by the sea when the tides returned later in the day. After two full days living among the fishes, the folks at Island Towing were finally able to extricate the off-roader Monday evening.
The extrication process was led by Island Towing’s Les Foss, who had previously spent 16 hours attempting to free the Bronco before successfully getting the truck ashore, according to The Drive. Ahead of the third and final rescue attempt, Foss was approached by a diver working with the Department of Environmental Protection. Since the truck would not roll on its own and it was stuck far from the shore, the two agreed that the SUV would best be recovered with the help of large float bags. These pieces of equipment are often used to retrieve large objects from below the surface, including chunks of historic wreckages. Timing became a crucial element of the plan, as the float bags would need the assistance of the high tide to push the truck toward safety.
After Foss and his associates were able to secure 10,000 pounds’ worth of float bags, the Bronco was carefully moved within range of an awaiting wrecker. Foss told The Drive that he couldn’t position a truck within 1500 feet of the drowned SUV before the successful float, likening the rescue to pulling a boulder from the ocean. The whole process took an additional 12 hours, bringing the total rescue effort up to 28 hours. Had the floating method failed, the next step would have involved a barge-mounted crane.
While this incident ultimately comes down to driver error, it is hard not to feel a little bad for the owner of this particular Bronco, which has now been identified as an Outer Banks model. These SUVs have been difficult to come by since it made its debut, and I’m sure this mistake was born out of a desire to test the truck’s lauded capabilities. Perhaps the Sasquatch package and its larger mud-terrain tires could have been a benefit here.