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Ford L8000 single axle straigh tanker water truck with a Hutch body Renfrew, Ontario Canada 05192006 ©Ian A. McCord

Tanker tumbles over embankment

SHESHEQUIN TOWNSHIP — First responders from multiple municipalities arrived on the scene of a water tanker truck which had careened off the side of the road while traveling down Ghent Hill in Sheshequin Township Monday morning.

According to volunteers on scene, the tanker was carrying a load of “brine” water which is used during the hydrofracking process. “Fracking” is done throughout Bradford County, including eight active well heads in Sheshequin Township alone, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

At approximately 8:45 a.m., Bradford County dispatch informed area emergency responders that a tanker truck had veered off the roadway and had flipped at least once. The driver of the vehicle made clear efforts to stop the truck, judging by the length of black skid marks lining the roadway, before the vehicle tumbled over the deep embankment on the south side of the road.

The male driver was entrapped in the cab of the tanker for approximately three hours before being extracted by the efforts of at least a dozen firefighters and rescue crew members. The team employed the use of a crane to lift the vehicle, which had come to rest on its roof, trapping the driver in the cab.

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Once the team raised the vehicle enough, they were able to use hydraulic cutting and prying tools to free the driver and safely move him from the scene.

He was transported by awaiting Guthrie Air helicopter to the Robert Packer Hospital for treatment of injuries. His identity and condition are unknown at this time.

Ghent Hill Road was closed to traffic most of the day Monday to allow for the clean-up of spilled “brine” water as well as hazardous liquids (oil and gasoline) that resulted from the crash. The roadway was reopened for traffic at 7:30 p.m. Monday evening.

Responders to the accident included Valley Rescue 7, Memorial EMS, Tri-Township Ambulance, Pennsylvania State Police, PennDOT, East Smithfield Fire, North Towanda Fire and the Ulster/Sheshequin Fire Company.


Alexis Bortle may be reached at (570) 888-9652; email: abortle@thedailyreview.com.

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