UPDATED: Truck crash into river closes Rt. 131 in Cavendish; recovery ongoing

Overturned tractor trailer in the Black River in Cavendish. Photo courtesy of the Proctorsville Fire Department.

By Shawn Cunningham
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

UPDATE 5:45 p.m. – In what appears to be a change of plan, Proctorsville Fire has just told Hartford Dispatch that the tractor portion of the rig has been removed from the river and they are working on the trailer. We will continue to monitor scanner traffic through the evening. Check back for further updates.

UPDATE 5 p.m. – According to scanner traffic this afternoon, the crews have unloaded the truck’s cargo of paper and the truck will remain in the river overnight. The road will reopen tonight, but will be closed from 7:30 a.m. until crews finish removing the tractor trailer on Wednesday.

Around 2:30 this morning, a tractor-trailer heading east on Route 131 in Cavendish apparently missed a sharp turn before crashing on its side in the Black River. At 2:48 a.m. the Cavendish and Proctorsville Fire departments were called out to handle the situation.

Around 4 a.m., the road was closed from Route 103 to Downers Four Corners. At this point it will likely be closed until 5 or 6 p.m. today.

Deputy Fire Chief Bob Glidden Jr. said that Proctorsville and Weathersfield ice water rescue technicians in cold water suits were able to reach the driver and bring him safely out of the river. Unconfirmed reports say that he was transported to Springfield Hospital for evaluation. His condition could not be determined as of publication.

Fire crews also put out booms to contain hazardous spills emanating from the truck, which early reports say contained a load of paper.

Around 11 this morning, Vermont’s waste water inventory report noted that the truck ended up laying on the passenger side in the river. The report added that a “saddle tank and oil pan ripped off” on the bank. The other saddle tank remained on the tractor-trailer and was leaking fuel into the river.

The report stated that the primary leaks of diesel and oil from the truck remained on the river bank, although “heavy sheens” could been seen in the water.

According to Glidden, at 10:45 a.m., a portable crane that will lift the truck out of the river had just arrived and about an hour later a radio broadcast was heard to say that Mack Molding employees should find other ways to leave work since the road could be shut down for five to six more hours.

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