Sunken Ford F-150 Was Just Raised From the Arctic Ocean
Months after falling through Arctic sea ice, this F-150 is back on dry land.
Last week we reported that the Transglobal Car Expedition was attempting a tricky rescue operation to recover one of its Arctic Trucks Ford F-150s that had fallen through the ice and sunk to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean just off the coast of northern Canada. Over the weekend, the team successfully refloated the truck to the surface, pushed it to land, flew it out using a heavy-lift rescue helicopter, and most impressively, did it all without any damage to the fragile ocean ecosystem.
The team lost the truck in March when it encountered thinner-than-expected ice while driving near the Tasmania Islands in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. While everyone in the Ford was able to escape before it sank, the team couldn't just leave the truck there, as that risked an eventual fuel tank rupture or oil loss that would hurt marine life and poison the water. The rescue plan was ambitious: have a team of divers swim the 26 feet to the bottom of the ocean where the truck was parked and attach airbags to float it off the sea floor, where it then could be pushed to land and flown out with a Coldstream Super Puma. The operation had to be done late in the summer, when the ice was thinnest, to give the divers the best chance of success.
The rescue operation was significantly more difficult than initial scouting suggested, thanks to undersea currents rolling the F-150 onto its roof and pushing it to a deeper section of water. By the time the divers arrived, it was on a section of ocean floor 50 feet deep, and the Transglobal team said currents were still strong and some ice was still in the area, making the divers' job that much more challenging.
They got it done anyway, floating the F-150 to nearby land where it could be picked up by helicopter. Additionally, the team recovered all the gear and personal effects that were in the truck or scattered around its resting spot to ensure no litter was left on the sea floor. No word on if it was still usable, although I think those rifles might be done for.
After four tries, the team was finally able to get the Ford lifted by helicopter, and it landed in Gjoa Haven just 10 hours ago. There, the truck will await shipping via boat to the team's base in Montreal. All told, the mission was a success; although the Transglobal Car Expedition is now down a truck, the team noted that the recovery "left the site in pristine condition" without damaging the ecosystem, and the team still intends to complete its goal of circumnavigating the Earth via car.