Early Monday morning, an unidentified man was pulled by Missoula Fire Department rescue personnel from a large SUV that had rolled over and landed upside down in the Clark Fork River.

KGVO spoke to Missoula Police Lieutenant Eddie McLean who provided details about the accident.

“At about 8:30 this morning there was a 911 call that a vehicle had rolled into the river on East Broadway just west of Easy Street,” said Lieutenant McLean. “The vehicle was reportedly upside down in the river on its roof. Officers arrived and observed the vehicle was upside down and partially submerged. The Missoula Fire Department responded to try to check if there were any occupants in the vehicle and there was a lone male occupant located inside who was ultimately transported to St Pat's.”

McLean said the driver evidently lost control of his vehicle.

“The investigation revealed that the vehicle was westbound on Broadway after passing Easy Street,” he said. “The driver lost control of the vehicle which then went over the curb and rolled down into the river, and right now the condition of that patient is unknown.”

Missoula Fire Department Battalion Chief David Wolter described the training that his crews undergo to prepare for such a rescue.

“One of the things that we do consider is the high risk of a situation like this where the water did have some moving ice in a moving current, and there's always a threat to our folks,” said Chief Wolter. “We are able with the good gear that we have to get out in the water during our practice sessions and run through scenarios just for an incident like today. We got on the scene, accessed the patient and had him extricated within 11 minutes.”

Lieutenant McLean said the individual had been submerged for about 18 minutes total before being extricated from the submerged vehicle. He then shared some advice to those driving in such inclement weather conditions.

“It does bring to mind that with the weather conditions, snow is predicted throughout the week,” he said. “Road conditions are going to be nasty, so we request people plan ahead, leave a little early, and provide some extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Four-wheel drive is really good to get going, but it does not help with slowing or stopping.”

Sadly, the driver did not survive the accident.

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