This is Richard, last name unknown, being assisted by a young member of the other tour. I received a message from Monica Gardella, on my other blog. Monica is a friend of Richard and his wife, Debbie. They are both in a hospital in New Mexico.(Coincidentally we had two couples on this tour with the same names.) Debbie is the one who calmed her husband from the other side of the truck by telling him she wouldn’t be able to make class because he wanted to take this tour. I’m so glad Monica wrote, and any other details about their well-being are welcome.
Frank Shearer in the maroon shirt, with his back to the camera, (the lens is not working properly) helped me identify the tie rod assembly and encouraged me to take a picture of it. He once owned a tow truck business in Oklahoma, and did front end alignment work for thirty years. We also learned from a message and phone call from Frank this morning, that the man who jumped out of the truck and landed on the ground before the tumble, was discovered by Frank and his friends, Dewayne, Vern and Steve, sitting dazed on the side of the road. They stopped to ask him if he was okay and he told them, the truck went over the cliff. So, we learned, that Frank and his friends, older guys, as Frank put it, were our first guardian angels who came down the hill and dug with their bare hands, sticks and anything they could find to dig people out of the wreck. We learn as we go, as each person helps us complete the picture from their perspective.
The nameless man who jumped from the truck in the yellow and blue jacket at the beginning of our trip in happier times. Sans hat and jacket, when I saw him after the accident, he had an abrasion on his forehead and told me he hurt his shoulder and back. He landed on the ground above before the truck made its tumble. Richard and Deby Crowe behind him. And Anita and Margaret behind them. If I’m wrong about any identifications, please correct me.
Here Margaret and Anita sit side by side next to the truck. Margaret had broken ribs both back and front. Anita, who was in pain herself, the day after the accident, drove the 200 miles to Flagstaff to pick up her friend and return to California.
Bill Repshur with his sweatshirt over his head, while the paramedics are getting ready to move his wife, Sofie, into the copter. Sofie’s son reported that she suffered a broken pelvis among other injuries and will be in the hospital for a couple more days. Also in this picture, in the white sweatshirt, is Jean and her husband Chris who worked continuously during the rescue; Jean with perpetual tears in her eyes. They were the only people to refuse medical treatment and seemed to be totally uninjured. They are from Wisconsin and we have not heard from them.
I believe this is Sophie Zagar, Bill’s wife, when she was first dug out from under the truck.
This is Jean and Chris right after we boarded, holding up their tickets, in happier times. Debbie, and Bill and Sophie in the background.
I forgot to thank the rangers, the paramedics and the rescue personnel for their diligent work in getting us all out. At one point we were out of water and someone thought to go get the big water container from the other tour truck and we again had plenty of water, which I continued to dole out to anyone who looked empty. And, when the helicopter arrived, they plunked down a whole case of water bottles.
I had meant to blog today about the wonderful family that drove me out of the canyon, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. We are both moving pretty slowly and trying to keep up with messages. Jim had warned me before we set out for Canyon de Chelly. Stock up, we are going to be a long way from a supermarket. Well, I’m glad we had plenty of food on hand, so I’m not doing much in the way of cooking. We are hanging in here, just grabbing what is handy. Also, the people from the Thunderbird Lodge have bent over backwards to see that we are comfortable and treated well. They offered us a room, shower, anything or help that we needed. Mary Jones, the owner, has been wonderful and we can’t thank her enough.