Cuenca, Ecuador – Another rescue operation

Today we are the saviours. It rains continuously and depressingly on the Pan Am between Alausi and Cuenca; moreover the clouds hang over the road and reduce visibility. A semi-truck went into a skid with these bad weather conditions. Now the semi-trailer stands in a 90°-angle to the road, one of the supports landed behind the high kerb. The trailer is facing the oncoming traffic and is now located in the grass behind the kerb. The truck can’t escape by its own efforts. There are no breakdown or recovery services in Ecuador. Just the organisation of the rescue would take hours. Joerg shows a good heart and offers to haul the lorry by winch.

The tractor has to be uncoupled, and then we drag it through earth and over the kerbs while we constantly have to change the Unimog’s position to correct the angle of traction. To our amazement the truck makes it back to the road without damages, despite its low clearance and lots of plastic at the bumper. Now it’s the trailer’s turn. Since one of the supports doesn’t skid over the kerb and the trailer is in danger of being bent, the truck driver and the surrounding rubbernecks have to lift the trailer again and again with a jack, and underlay the support with rocks and beams until it is on the level of the kerb’s top edge. The other support scratches the asphalt from the road while dragging, what doesn’t bother even the police that arrived in the meanwhile and helps half-heartedly to regulate the traffic.

After one and three quarters of an hour the trailer is in position as well, is coupled to the tractor, and our worn-out winch cable is coiled up. The truck driver respectably asks how much to pay for removing. We reject compensation, hoping we will get help if we need it one day.

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