The 3,000 people at the Stanislaus County Fair tractor pull were witness to an unexpected site Wednesday night when a man was pinned underneath a tractor sleigh and a rescue mission was launched in the middle of the arena.
The victim of the accident, 51-year-old Loy Riddle, suffered a broken ankle and numerous lacerations and abrasions on his lower back, said Turlock Fire Department Battalion Chief Gary Lunsford. Riddle was reported in stable condition and recuperating from his injuries.
Riddle was helping with set up during the show when the 32,000-pound tractor sleigh backed over him and trapped him underneath its massive bulk.
The Turlock Fire Department was immediately called to the arena.
“When we arrived they had a humongous forklift out there trying to lift the tractor sleigh up off him,” Lunsford said. “The tractor sleigh weighed so much that it was actually tipping the forklift and they had 10 to 15 people on it to try and counter the weight.”
Using the forklift and the fire department’s equipment, the rescuers were able to raise the tractor sleigh high enough for the fire fighters to pull Riddle out on a back board.
“Once we got him out we saw several lacerations and an obvious deformity to his ankle,” Lunsford said.
Riddle was loaded into an air ambulance that had landed in the middle of the arena and was taken to an area hospital.
The helicopter crew initially did not know which hospital to take Riddle to because the radio was not transmitting inside the arena, Lunsford said.
The entire rescue mission took about 15 minutes, Lunsford said.
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