Overgrown Recovery

After eight years in the woods, it took a team of towers all day to detangle and recover an abandoned Acura.

by Sarah Bruce

When Clover Towing, in Surrey, B.C., was called about an abandoned car, missing for at least eight years before being found 500 yards down an embankment overgrown by forest, the question was less about how it got there, and more about how to get it out.

The car was seen and reported by an excavator operator who had been clearing a piece of private property for development. That’s when Brent McMahon and his team of Cari Robertson, Jamie Mikkelsen, and Justin Varney, went in to survey the site.

“I couldn’t even see it from the road,” Brent said. It was so hidden under the growth of the forest that he had to scout out his plan on foot first. When he found the car, an old Acura full of cobwebs, there were trees growing in and around and some had even fallen on top of it.

In order to successfully pull it up onto the road, Brent chose to use a recovery method that involved two trucks, one at the top of the embankment to do the heavy lifting, and another down at the car’s level to do the manoeuvring.

“We put another truck down there so we could have more control over the recovery,” Brent said. “The one that I lowered down was the recovery truck and I had to make it so I could position the truck all over the hillside and go between trees.”

“Like playing a game of pool,
I had to position my cue just perfectly
so I didn’t hit anything I wasn’t aiming for.”

Wanting to do their very best to preserve the environment and leave the site as it was, they had to be especially careful
not to destroy the new-growth trees.

“We just used a couple of snatch blocks because we had to pull it out 100 yards and past a huge tree that was already there. Then I had to go sideways another 100 yards because I found an opening I could get the car through without damaging trees.”

Every time they re-manoeuvred, they had to bring the recovery truck back up to the road level and then lower it back down to the new position, Brent explained. “It was more technical and more rigging and re-rigging than anything else. Like playing a game of pool, I had to position my cue just perfectly so I didn’t hit anything I wasn’t aiming for.”

Six hours and a long zigzag through the trees later, the car and both tow trucks were back up the embankment and on their way home.