Aerial Elephant Rescue Team Saves a Truck Driver Trapped in a Raging River

Screenshots of video showing rescue of truck driver trapped in river in Kenya by a helicopter

Photo: Screenshots from Instagram

In Kenya, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) is known for its conservation work, protecting the country's orphaned elephants and even providing them with vet care. Recently, their experience and assets helped them save a man who was in a very dangerous situation. A tanker truck driver happened to be making his way across the Galana Kulalu causeway when the heavy rain caused the river to overflow, rapidly trapping the vehicle and the man in raging waters.

“Flooding is a constant threat during the rainy season, and it is often impossible to predict when or how quickly water levels will rise,” writes SWT. While the driver was safe from the flow for a while, the sheer force of the river pushed the truck on its side. This caused the windshield to break, which in turn flooded the cabin. The man managed to escape and climb atop the vehicle, but the rising water levels were quickly engulfing the truck. It was only a matter of time until everything was submerged, and the distance from the riverbanks—as well as the strength of the current—made any rescue efforts via water impossible.

Fortunately, SWT was notified about the unfolding crisis, and its Aerial Unit rushed to the scene. The organization has a handy helicopter that they use in their elephant rescue missions. Relying on their knowledge and hoping for the best, they quickly came up with a rescue plan.

Brothers Taru and Roan Carr-Hartley flew to the scene, and it didn't take them long to spot the driver. Despite having been there for several hours, he had not given up hope. Approaching him wasn't easy; the wind and the force of the river created challenging flying conditions, and they also had to be careful with the tanker, as it was filled with gas.

Nevertheless, Taru, the skilled pilot, managed to get only a few inches above the truck. In a video that captures the whole ordeal, we can see Roan, who was safely strapped into a harness, lowered into the vehicle. He then grabs the man's hand and helps him board the helicopter. Once safely inside the aircraft, the driver exclaims, “Thank you!” He looks shocked, but grateful, as the crew member gives him a friendly pat on the back.

“We can only imagine what was racing through his mind as the water continued to rise around him,” explains SWT. “Within minutes of the helicopter’s arrival, however, he was back on firm ground. It was a high-stakes mission that ended with the best possible outcome.”

The video of the operation, recorded from the savior's point of view, quickly went viral not only for its thrilling subject, but also for the sheer humanity displayed by all those involved throughout the nerve-racking rescue. “Working in conservation means being ready to answer the call, whatever it may be,” states SWT. “Today, our Aerial Unit saved a life. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!”

If you'd like to support Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's efforts, you can make a donation on it’s the organization’s website.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is known for its conservation work in Kenya, but they recently saved a man from a destructive incident with Mother Nature.

Brothers Taru and Roan Carr-Hartley flew to the scene, and it didn't take them long to spot the driver of a tanker truck that had been pushed on its side by a river that quickly overflowed during a storm.

Watch the thrilling rescue video:

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: Website | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok
h/t: [Reddit]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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