Friend drowned his car!

Well, I have heard of this happening but never thought a friend of mine would do this. He just followed the directions the computer gave him and didn’t stop when it told him to proceed and drive right into a river. This guy isn’t stupid but has no common sense. He is an engineer designing bridges of all things for a state DOT.

I guess he saw the river and then backed up and floored it to get a nice run at it. I didn’t see this happen but he walked up from the river and said his car was in the water. I walked over to look and couldn’t believe it. All his stuff was just floating around in the car and the power accessories were still on when I went out there to look at it. I don’t know if this made a difference but I disconnected the battery, making sure to remove the negative first since I was standing in the river with the car, not that 12V would be all that bad. I don’t know if that will make any difference at this point but I could see lights on the dash lit up under water. The headlights were even full of water.

The park rangers said stuff like this happens all the time and they had a towing company on speed dial. The wrecker was there in no time and had the car pulled out. I don’t know if the car is totaled or not but I would guess it is. The insurance company hasn’t had it evaluated yet. He is also unsure if he turned the engine off or it stopped. If hydrolocked, it is likely toast.

He was coming down to the river for a weekend of camping and floating with family and friends. His family took it in stride and even let him drive their cars since this one was out of commission. He feels like an idiot and said this had been a reliable car and got great gas mileage but had destroyed it.

One thing is for sure. No one who was there will EVER let him live this one down! Here are some pictures for your enjoyment!

This brings up another question. What if a self-driving car was fed this same bad information? Would it stop or just drive right into the water? How would it know if it was just a puddle or if it was a river or lake it was driving into?

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That’s a great question. And what if it’s during a storm, and a normally-safe underpass is flooded?


Glad he is ok. maybe he should buy an Amphicar



Your friend is what is known in the Northeast as a total schmuck. I hope i never have to cross a bridge he designed. Good point about the autonomous car, btw.


Ah ha ha. Bet he’ll put a bridge there on the dot list.

A friend of the family had wrecker duty one night so he called my dad to see if he wanted to ride along. Then he said bring your swim trunks, there is a car in the lake. They both came back wet.

A grade school friend had one of those amphicars but it was stolen out of his garage. Fully restored he said. When I talked to him he seemed to imply he knew more about where it had gone than he let on. Worth somewhere around $80k I think.

At Disney the market town has about seven or so of those that they sell rides on. The interesting part is they all have Minnesota plates and owned by someone in Minnesota. Maybe there’s a connection. It wouldn’t necessarily surprise me though if the grade school friend would have acquired his not totally legally, and just got it repossessed.

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Maybe they are from Lake Woebegone and Garrison Keillor doesn’t need them anymore.


saw an amphicar at iola car show 10 yrs ago for $18k. approx. looked ok. didnt look under it.

Glad no one was injured, that sort of incident could produce a tragic result… Cars/trucks unloading trailered boats, then rolling into water not that uncommon, but driving a car sans boat into water, that’s admittedly a bit unusual.

So the driver saw the river and thought it appeared shallow enough to drive across??? Must have been pretty dark. Reminds me of a movie, young couple on road trip in Europe, from Germany to Turkey. They get lost, come to a small river about 20 feet wide, broad daylight, decide it is the Danube, and no bridge, so build a ramp & try to jump their car across it … lol …

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The 3D laser sensor on an autonomous vehicle reads a puddle or pond as a solid surface. It would try to drive right over it… and into it.

That car is totaled, BTW.

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When I was stationed at Luke AFB in the mid '70s, outside Phoenix AZ., a co-worker took his re-enlistment bonus and bought a brand new Ford Bronco with the optional Propane Gas feature. Back then, CB radios were all the rage and my co-worker friend was right on top of it. His handle will not be mentioned as he chose one that included his nationality and by today’s standards, it’s not politically appropriate…

But the CB is central to this story. The antenna was mounted on the back bumper with a tennis ball half way down the mast to keep it from banging on the back of the cab and a RED Light mounted on the top…

It was only a month or so old when he and his family took a trip down to Baja, Mexico, specifically the Gulf of California, to go camping on the beach.

Like most everyone else, they drove down onto the beach, parked and went swimming and seashell picking… When they got back to the Bronco, the water was splashing at the axles and he cranks it up and throws it into 4-wheel drive and hits it only to find the super saturated sand does not support much of anything, let alone a vehicle. The Bronco quickly sinks up to its axles in the sand and now the water is splashing onto the floor.

Several beach buggies tried to pull him out, but he had parked parallel to the water and they were trying to pull him sideways and nothing worked and a lot of people tried to push it out, but by then the water was too deep for any other vehicle to get close enough to tie up.

His wife photographed everything thinking this would make a great scrapbook when they got back, but that’s not the way it turned out.

His Bronco was stuck and the tide came in about 5-feet and the last of the photos showed only the CB Antenna Mast sticking out of the water.

The next day, when the tide was out, he got it towed off the beach, and had to pay to have it towed back to the states.

And the worst part of this was his insurance refused to pay off the loan for a whole gaggle of reasons, he had not bother to change over the insurance quickly enough, it was over a month, he did not have Mexico coverage, he did not have the type of coverage it needed (flood, water damage, whatever…), and it was one of those companies that “insures everyone” due to his driving record…

And that was not the worse part, we had security clearances and the Air Force considered his traveling outside the country, without prior authorization, a security violation and his “Unsecured Debt” a security risk and withdrew his security clearance and he was reclassified and retrained into another, no security clearance required career field.

Wait for it… And because the loss of his old career field was due to his negligence (unauthorized travel and the unsecured debt), he had to repay his re-enlistment bonus… He ultimately declared bankruptcy and due to other factors, the Air Force discharged him with a less than honorable discharge…


He lost everything just b/c of a beach parking misjudgment? A bit of very bad luck. Reminds me of the Shakespeare story, didn’t Richard III say something about if he only had a horse?

On the plus side, interesting true story, maybe he could get it published, make a few dollars.

Moral of story, walk or bicycle, just stay away from vehicles … lol …

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I think it was a horse a horse my kingdom for a horse. Or maybe that was napolian. For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the battle was lost and so on. I’ll have to consult the English expert. European history has never been my favorite.

No one in polite company speaks of this man anymore.

Mrs Huba, my 8th grade English teacher had us memorize various Shakespearean passages and this was one of them…

“A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”

When I read your note, I had to laugh and I am surprised that you missed the humor of your posting… He did have a horse, a “Bronco…” L :smile: L…

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lol … yeah, he did have a horse ! … and to keep this car-related, I think Richard III was found recently – well his remains were found – buried under a parking lot.

That is worse than this story for sure. I do have a little side note though. This location is a historic or traditional fording point so a legal ford type river crossing. At other places you risk a fat fine and confiscation of the truck. People were riding 4WD trucks and ATVs in the water in places, destroying the rivers. In some of the real backwards places people were literally draining fluids into the river with trucks parked in the water to dispose of them. Harsh laws were passed to prevent this.

Anyway, he didn’t get a ticket for this incident but that was by dumb luck. He obviously had no clue this was a legal ford. Anyway, his dad came down to the same spot the next day. He could see a large parking lot on the other side of the ranger station but not exactly how to get there. The ranger station was basically on the corner of two roads intersecting and the ranger station blocked his view of the entrance to the ranger station which was on the other road so he figured you just drove across the grass to get the the parking area. He proceeded to do this and drove right past the national park ranger with the uniform, badge, gun, etc. and parked. The ranger came right over and wrote a nice $200 ticket for unauthorized offroading. The dad is also an engineer and his job is to inspect/audit nuclear reactors and come up with safety plans.

The park rangers must have seen two people with the same last name on their incident reports at the same exact spot and must have really wondered about these people. The family is all very nice and well-meaning but I guess the lack of common sense is hereditary.


Had a shop teacher, missionary work in africa, tried to ford a stream engine died, and he put the vw bus in first gear and used the starter motor to crank him across. Engine was fine afterwards,


I guess he wetted the points or whatever and didn’t hydrolock it. I have heard of people moving a car with a starter but can’t imagine it going for long before burning out or draining the battery.