West Coast Fast Freight Incident in the Columbia River

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Before the Biggs Bridge was built all traffic on US97 had to cross the Columbia River by a ferry which was a barge and tug. A well know driver called "Troggy" by everyone his last name was Trogdon, apparently failed to properly set the brakes on the ferry. When the ferry pulled out the rig rolled backwards off the ferry and into the river.

This accident was talked about for years and years. Until now I had not seen any photos of the accident recovery. An Old timer who drove for West Coast loaned me the photos. His name is John Bramlet of Portland. I was delighted to get these photos. The accident was one of those that became a legend and is still talked about today.

These photos document the recovery.


You can spot the West Coast Road Patrol sedan delivery rig that West Coast safety people used Another great photo of equipment used to recover the WCFF rig. Washington in background and the War Memorial Stong Hing on hill in background.
Diver is preparing his gear to go down to hook up recovery gear to the rig underwater. Note the background hill which are on the Washington side. The Stone Hinge War memorial appears to be in the background. Here we see the diver in his full gear going into the water
You will notice the background again is the Washington side of the river. It looks much the same today. The ferry was replaced in the 60s by the Biggs Bridge which is there today. The old Maryhill Loops that climbed the hill up to Goldendale has been replaced by a newer faster highway. You can still view the old loops today.
The trailer is just below the surface of the water This view is looking northwest down the river. Oregon on left Washington on right. The barge is approaching the trailer. Great photo of crewman finishing up hooking sling to trailer
You will note that there appears to be little damage to the unit. A KW. Looks like you could just drive it away. Notice again the 1955 model sedan delviery WCFF road patrol car and the 1955 Pontiac on shore. I am sure I know some of those people. Almost positive that the Road Boss driving the WCFF Chevy is Lonnie Elkins who was a good friend of my Dad also.
Opening trailer to remove water and weight. Of course this also caused a lot of freight to flow out with the water too. Note supervisor checking inside cab. No one was hurt in the accident. Just hurt feelings.


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