Another Tow Ball Tragedy - RIP Ryan - Warning graphic images

Patriot

Administrator
Team,
Another tragic death from a recovery gone wrong with a towball. Please share this as I think it is really important that people know the reason that you should never recovery off a tow ball. This happened just a couple of days ago in the US. Very tragic.


This was shared on FB by Justin Pendley o nthe Mohave County 4x4 Recovery page -

Attention!! Please Read! Never use a Tow Ball to Recover someone! It’s not worth someones Life!!
Tuesday July 26th 2022,
It was a typical Monsoon day in Small town Kingman, AZ. The undeveloped Baron wasteland where developers have dumped their excess dirt has created obstacles for the community to enjoy year round, anytime it rains the fields turn into a mud infested swampy play ground for all the locals to flock to in their 4x4’s quads and side by sides. But nobody could’ve seen what Tragedy would happen on that Cloudy wet afternoon in the high desert.
The Woods family Jennifer and Ryan were out in their Ford Super Duty with their kids in the back seat playing in the mud, enjoying the thrill of sliding sideways spinning the tires, splashing through puddles, all while navigating through years of man made tracks filled with deep mud holes that would challenge the most capable of vehicles. Well soon into the adventure Ryan came across a mudhole that sunk his 4 ton beast. Even with a rear locker and 4x4 he was swamped, unable to budge the truck with all 4 tires spinning he was stuck with no way of getting out without a tow, so like every other time he’s gotten stuck he called upon a good friend he’s known for 20 years. This friend a known off roader, racer, and mechanic came out in his 4x4 hoping for just a quick pull out of the mud so he could get back to his Jacuzzi waiting for him at home.
With minimal recovery gear with him and years of off roading experience he like many other people across the world, worked with what he had on hand. A chain stretched across both factory front recovery points a 3” static HD tow strap and a drop down hitch with a 2” ball connected to the rear of his 4WD truck. The first few attempts failed with one of the chains failing to be strong enough and broke after the second pull. After that the strap was connected directly to one front tow point. After a few light tugs the truck wasn’t budging. Knowing more force was needed to pluck this 9,000lb truck out of the mud he backed up a few feet to get a better start. That turned out to be too much stress for the ball hitch when the extra tension was created by the force of the pull it ripped the drop down portion of the hitch off of the truck, sending it and the strap directly towards Ryans truck smashing through the windshield, directly where Ryan was in the Driver seat. The force was so great it ripped through the windshield and bent the steering wheel before ultimately striking Ryan in the face, ending his life. With his family in the car, an afternoon full of fun and excitement turned into a traumatizing experience, this family will never be the same. Ryan was a loving Husband of 23 years with his wife Jennifer and he leaves behind 3 kids Darren Woods 27, Madison Woods 13, and Londyn Woods 10. And also friendship of 20 years now with the reality he lost his friend from the this freak accident. Ryan served everyone he came in to contact with, even strangers, he loved deeply and forgave quickly his Legacy will not be forgotten and live on with his children.
RIP Ryan Robert Woods 7-7-1979 7-26-2022
Whenever going out off roading it’s inevitable that someone can get stuck. Use the PROPER recovery gear and NEVER USE A TOW BALL! Also do not use chains or straps that are not designed to be yanked. Soft shackles, KINETIC recovery ropes, Synthetic winch lines, and Safety blankets help minimize risk and when rigged properly prevent damage or injury with the correct safety precautions in place. Proper recovery gear has weight ratings listed on the tags. Do not exceed those weight ratings. I hope this post can educate the public that Tow balls are not for recoveries and people can seriously get hurt and even Killed!
Would also like to thank our first responders for the quick response Mohave County Sheriff's Office Northern Arizona Fire District Adan Towing
Please Share!!!!!!!!!! RIP Ryan

Here is a link to the gofundme page. We have made a $500 AUD donation on behalf of the Australian 4x4earth community, I have been in touch with Jennifer and they are doing it really tough, so if anyone can help out, that would be really appreciated by them.



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Here is a link to the podcast we did with Jason Lock about the dangers of snatch recoveries and how to do them right.
 
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Hoyks

Well-Known Member
Definitely.
That drop hitch would put some leverage on the hitch, but would have taken some serious abuse to tear off the hitch like that.
 

Patriot

Administrator
That truck looks pretty stuck in the mud. What do people think would have been the best way to get it out? It is a big truck, so I am not even sure that a proper snatch would have worked.
 

John U

Well-Known Member
Condolences to the family.

Snatching is the riskiest method, even when using the correct equipment. I've been involved in few recoveries now. I've never chosen snatching when I've been directing.

Have the right gear.
Ensure you use it.
Follow the below as a rough guide
20220730_140539.jpg


Wasn't there so can't say. Assuming the tyre pressures had been dropped, shovel would've been the first thing I would've gone for.

A tragic combination of mistakes.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Once the chassis and axles are in, snatching is a low percentage recovery method every time. I had a little diahatsu F50 similarly bogged years ago. A tilt tray truck didn’t have enough traction to stop winching itself backwards towards it. He had to drive the tray into the track and had the winch 15ft in the air to break the suction the little car had.
 

Rusty Panels

Well-Known Member
Very sad to see another victim of poor recovery methods. They do things differently in the U.S. not to say that similar can't happen anywhere but for starters we don't have those silly drop hitches like they use in the States. The forces of a snatch recovery using normal slings with little if any flexibility along with presumably high speed and massive horsepower on the recovery vehicle meant that something other than a very well bogged vehicle was going to give. Terrible thing to say, but I hope it was quick.
 

rogerazz

4x4 Earth Contributer
Back in the 80's I got bogged , all four wheels down to axles in a '76 Valiant wagon with trailer and two dirt bikes, as well as two kids up at Strathbogie Ranges.
Just on dark, so slept in the wagon and in the morning unhitched trailer, removed bikes and started digging. Then some jacking, rocks and branches under each wheel and after a few hours got out.
I did not have winch, straps, chains, treads, 4wd, anyone else to help or radio etc., just a shovel, jack and an axe.
Maybe that was a better way even though it was hard yakka.
Today , 4wd shows sell some bad ideas because they want to sell their gear.
Rest in Peace to the poor bloke and condolences to his family.
 

Laingy

Member
Back in the 80's I got bogged , all four wheels down to axles in a '76 Valiant wagon with trailer and two dirt bikes, as well as two kids up at Strathbogie Ranges.
Just on dark, so slept in the wagon and in the morning unhitched trailer, removed bikes and started digging. Then some jacking, rocks and branches under each wheel and after a few hours got out.
I did not have winch, straps, chains, treads, 4wd, anyone else to help or radio etc., just a shovel, jack and an axe.
Maybe that was a better way even though it was hard yakka.
Today , 4wd shows sell some bad ideas because they want to sell their gear.
Rest in Peace to the poor bloke and condolences to his family.
Fully concur with your words here mate. I just got back from the Adelaide 4WD and Camping Show and was amazed to see the stuff you can buy to "get your car out of the mud!" And all without getting your hands dirty! If you can drive in, you can drive out, albeit with a lot of digging and elbow grease! Snatch straps are asking for trouble, as not all towing points are equal, and not all towing points are designed to be snatched!

Stay safe

Laingy
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Very sad tragedy.
Even sadder is turning this tragedy into a marketing opportunity. Very poor form Factor 55 :mad:
The comments show a lot of ignorance on the subject by our American counterparts.
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
This isn’t a typical towball tragedy, the towball is still intact and there is no deformation of the components or weld failure. There must of been a lot of force to shear that SHS off like that

Very sad indeed
 

mikehzz

Well-Known Member
This isn’t a typical towball tragedy, the towball is still intact and there is no deformation of the components or weld failure. There must of been a lot of force to shear that SHS off like that

Very sad indeed
I thought that too, but the Mad Matt video I posted seems to suggest that it's more common for the weld to break between the towball holder and the tongue rather than the towball snapping off. He was saying an angled weld is better than a vertical weld. Personally, I wouldn't know.
 
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