Idaho Man Pinned Under Truck for Two Days, Found By Sister
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Inside a East Idaho hospital Friday, Joe Rightmire couldn’t help but show gratitude to the two Idaho Falls firefighters who helped save his life; Jeff Hardy, and Connor Cook.
“Thank you guys,” he said, looking over to them. “You guys got down in that truck right there with me, and it meant so much.”
Rightmire’s truck rolled off a dirt road outside town Saturday, as he veered to avoid hitting a passing car. He was ejected, and ultimately ended up underneath the windshield. It would be two days before he saw another person.
“It took me a few hours to realize I was even underneath my truck,” Rightmire said. “And then panic kind of set in.”
After the panic passed, Rightmire says his mind drifted.
“I was starting to go a little delusional,” Rightmire recalled, saying that he started to have conversations with his sister, and with friends. “And they weren’t just little, ‘hey, how are you,’ conversations. They were full-blown conversations.”
As ‘delusional’ as that may seem, Rightmire says it helped him pass the time, and to survive.
“The only think I could think of is that it was a way of my mind saying, ‘hey, here’s someone that you feel comfort with, that you trust,'” Rightmire said.
Meantime, Rightmire’s sister, Tasha Goforth says she had been trying to get various law enforcement agencies to go look for her brother. She says she had no success since the area borders a few jurisdictions. She formed her own search party with friends. She says one of those friends found her brother rather quickly.
“He told me, ‘something just told me to come here,'” Goforth said. “He was yelling at me, ‘get in that truck and go call 911 now! Don’t even stop.”
Hardy and Cook arrived shortly after, calling for additional help. Cook says the rescue operation was long and methodical. Firefighters used specialized airbags to lift the truck, inches at a time.
“We stabilized him. We stabilized the vehicle,” Cook described. “We had to start with smaller airbags to get the wiggle room to be able to get the bigger airbags in there to ultimately lift him off.”
After over two hours, Cook says Rightmire was finally free.
Rightmare has several bruises, a broken collar bone, and he’s lost feeling in his right hand. Otherwise, he’s expected to recover. He says he has a thoughtful sisters, and Idaho Falls firefighters to thank for that.
“How they did it, I can’t give these guys enough gratitude for getting me out of there,” Rightmire said of Cook and Hardy.