SL victim rescued from car crushed in storm

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Storm Lake resident suffered severe injuries Wednesday night when a large tree fell on a car parked on the south side of the Linn Grove Dam, as a brief storm blew through the area shortly before 7:30 p.m. with winds estimated at over 40 miles per hour.

One person in the vehicle was able to escape, but the other was crushed in the car and remained trapped for over 30 minutes. Downed live power lines across the vehicle prevented firefighters and deputies arriving at the scene from immediately reaching the victim, as an Alliant Energy crew was called to the scene to make sure power was off.

Equipment from Graesing Backhoe Service was rushed to the scene to remove the tree that had fallen directly on the driver's side of the vehicle, allowing Sioux Rapids Fire Department rescue workers to extricate the victim.

A landing zone was cleared on the north side of the river to bring in a Mercy Air Care helicopter to transport the victim to the hospital in Sioux City, and an ambulance from Buena Vista Regional Medical Center transported the victim, 37-year-old Harzaw Lah, to the landing area, while a Sioux Rapids ambulance crew treated passenger Thaw Ler, 71 of Storm Lake, on the scene.

Numerous agencies cooperated in the rescue- Buena Vista and Cherokee sheriff's departments, Sioux Rapids fire and ambulance workers, Linn Grove fire department, medical center paramedics, BV County Conservation, air care personnel, Valentine Towing, the utility company, and backhoe owner.

"Without all of these services working together, the results of this accident may have been more severe," Buena Vista County Sheriff Kory Elston said.

"The sheriff's department extends a thank you for the hard work of all the emergency personnel that responded."

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