Back in the 80′s we were at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City. My buddy had a 25′ trailerable sailboat he pulled with a CJ 7 Jeep. The city dock had a steep and deep ramp from the Ranger station. The ramp also had a railway system on it. My buddy Larry was on the boat and another friend was backing the trailer into the water. After the boat was launched the friend tried to pull the Jeep out, but according to him, the clutch was not engaging until the very top of the pedal throw (I can attest to the truth of that as I had driven this Jeep). With the engine on high rev, the trailer and Jeep disappeared backwards into the lake. At the last second Larry yelled to his buddy to get out of the Jeep, at which point he bailed out of the drivers window!
I arrived at the ramp about 2:00 that afternoon (we had early shift in the Air Force then). I see my buddy diving in the water while his boat is tied to the dock. Thinking that he had lost his keys, I walked out onto the dock where about 6 people where standing around watching. I said to another friend “what’s Larry looking for?” He say’s “Jeep” at which point I started laughing hysterically. The story I mentioned above was then relayed to me.
My buddy goes under about 6 more times while I’m watching. The Rangers finally show up and Larry is talking to them. The Rangers pull out the rail cable system and Larry starts diving with the cable, all the while getting more direction from the early observers from the dock. He finally comes up and announces “Found it!” About 4-5 more dives and he finally gets the cable around the front bumper of the Jeep. Meanwhile a crowd continues to gather at the dock and the story is continually retold.
As they winch the vehicle out of the lake the top of the windshild breaks water and the crowd, now about 30 people, erupt into applause. The Jeep and the 25′ of trailer are winched to the top of the ramp. One of the spectators was a mechanic and he volunteered to help save the Jeep. They immediately pulled the spark plugs and drained the oil pan. The mechanic said about 4 quarts of water drained from the oil pan before any oil was seen. The battery still worked and they cranked the engine until all of the water exited the cylinders. The oil filter was replaced along with some fresh oil, the plugs reinstalled and the engine fired right up! About an hour later I saw Larry sailing his boat on the lake.
An amazing but one of many true ramp stories. Did I mention the time I saw a Hobie cat hit a Corvette? Yea, that’s another story.