Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mid-South storm chasers injured while providing aid

Storm chasers Brandon Bridges (standing) and Vincent Webb after a scary interstate accident.
Photo courtesy Vincent Webb.
On their way back from a day of chasing in the Plains, in which they videoed at least one tornadic storm, Mid-South storm chasers Vincent Webb and Brandon Bridges were struck by a vehicle on I-40 near Fort Smith, AR on Sunday afternoon, April 15.

Webb (@msstormchasing on Twitter) and Bridges (@bbridges18) were traveling in Webb's storm chase vehicle on I-40 with Jeremy Johnson (@memphisjdj) and Nick Hellums (@midsouthchasers) on their way back to the Memphis area and reached a stretch of I-40 that had experienced showers. They encountered a rollover accident on the opposite site of the interstate and pulled over to offer assistance. After crossing the interstate by foot, Bridges and Webb were helping the motorist in the rollover vehicle when another vehicle hydroplaned and careened towards the scene. Both Bridges and Webb tried to get out of the way, but were struck by the approaching vehicle and thrown several feet into the grass along the interstate.  Johnson and Hellums were bystanders and not injured.  Both Webb and Bridges were transported to the hospital for precautionary purposes with minor injuries.  Their chase vehicle, owned by Webb, was on the opposite side of the interstate and not involved.

I spoke with Bridges by phone Sunday afternoon and he indicated that their injuries were minor and he hoped that they would be back in the Memphis area very late tonight.

Following the recent death of storm chaser Andy Gabrielson, we are again reminded that the storms themselves are only one threat chasers face as they attempt to provide a service to the community and the National Weather Service by providing reports of severe weather that aid in the protection of life and property. Frequently, as in this case, they are "first responders" on the scene after disaster strikes and are always ready to call off the chase to provide assistance wherever required. Please keep all of these chasers in your prayers.

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6 comments:

Jesse said...

My prayers go out to the Storm Chasers and those that were injured in the rollover accident.

MWN/Erik said...

Thank you Jesse! I know they appreciate it as well.

Montoya said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved.I will remember the sad day we lost Andy forever.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness you guys are okay! With the memory of AG still very fresh, I can honestly say I was scared. Hope you have a speedy recovery so you can get back to your usual awesomeness :)

@midsouthchasers said...

Thank you for posting this about us Eric. My guys were very fortunate they were not injured worse and that I was somehow able to jump out of the way. Something we'll never know how. Thank you everyone for your thoughts an
d prayers. please keep them going for my friends. I don't know what I would have done if things woukd have been worse. I do know that if put in the position again we would help out without thinking twice. My guys need to get better soon because if we are needed again any time soon we will be ready. Thanks again Eric for posting this great update.

MWN/Erik said...

Nick - So glad you are OK and weren't also struck. It had to be horrifying to watch and feel helpless! Rest up and get ready for the next one! Y'all do a great service!
--Erik