How this Ford F-150 ended up (and was freed from) underneath a Canadian ice sheet

Now that’s what we call a rescue effort
by Drei Laurel | Aug 30, 2022
Image of a submerged Ford F-150
PHOTO: Transglobal Car Expedition
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What’s the worst position you’ve ever been in while off-roading? Stalled in waist-deep water, perhaps? Or how about being forced to winch your way out of tire-swallowing terrain? Yeah, that’s rough—but still probably has nothing on what happened to this Ford F-150.

So, what happened here? Clearly, this unit is underwater—but it obviously wasn’t just caught in a flash flood, which in many cases is the worst-case scenario for vehicles like this.

The unit you see here is a AT44 F-150—the work of extreme truck specialist Arctic Trucks. If you’ve seen the company’s work, you know it’d take a hell of a lot to bring one of its vehicles down.

Anyway, the vehicle was part of a snowy expedition in Canada’s Tasmania Islands back in March. It was part of a team of seven people that included a pair of experienced arctic drivers and was crossing from Canada’s continental shelf to the Arctic when the ice it was driving on began to break.

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“I realized very quickly what was happening, I tried to give it gas to speed up but nothing happened, I quickly went for the radio and yelled ‘við erum að fara niður’ (we are going down) and instructed Brandon to ‘open door, open door.” I tried to open my door but the car was leaning to my side and the door would not open, Brandon got out and I followed him through the passenger door,” the vehicle’s driver Torfi Brikir Johansson said in an Instagram post, recalling the experience.

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“I evaluated if I should go back into the car get a few cloths there, my phone, my computers etc. but decided to jump on the roof rack and get the extra heavy clothing for all four of us and which were stored on this car,” the expedition member added, saying he was still able to free some emergency supplies from the pickup before it went under.

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Man, that sounds intense. The unit sank to the bottom and was submerged under almost 50 feet of water for several months.

So, we supposed you just write the truck off then? Well, no. A recovery operation was set up, and the F-150 was back on dry land as of yesterday.

So, how exactly did the truck’s rescuers go about lifting the vehicle from the depths? The Transglobal Car Expedition team explained the process on its Instagram account.

“Two boats were first launched to explore the area and locate the AT44. The diving team then began inspecting the vehicle underwater,” the post reads, adding that the task was accomplished despite strong currents and ice movement thanks to great visibility.

“After carefully attaching the lines and flotation bags, the truck (still upside down) was carefully moved to a shallower depth, before being turned onto its wheels and pulled onshore. The team was also able to recover all the equipment and personal items from the vehicle.”

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From there, the F-150 was airlifted via helicopter to a safer location. Now that’s what we call a rescue. Be honest, if it was your money being spent for the operation, would you have just left the vehicle to swim with the fish?

Arctic Trucks Ford F-150 rescue operation

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PHOTO: Transglobal Car Expedition
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