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Old 12-02-2011, 05:11 AM   #1
Bob Pasternak
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Be careful how you hook tow cables, straps, etc:

FWIW:November 30, 2011

Man killed by flying tow strap while helping stranded motorist

PERU, IN ó
A man was killed by a flying tow strap Tuesday night in Miami County while trying to help a stranded motorist, police say.

Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller released a statement Wednesday saying Glenn ďAllenĒ Music, 46, was pronounced dead Tuesday evening by Miami County deputy coroner John Bowyer.

Witnesses said Music was using his pickup truck and a tow strap to pull a vehicle belonging to Harold J. Heitzman, Peru, from a ditch along 300 North, just west of 100 West.

The strap came loose from the stuck vehicle, sending the metal end of the strap through Musicís rear window, striking Music and causing a fatal head would.

Musicís 4-year-old daughter was a passenger in the vehicle and was not injured.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:53 AM   #2
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Great lesson here. The strap may be rated for the weight of the vehicle, but stuck in mud the stress is far in excess of that. I have always used a tow boat rope and if it can't go over a hitch or a front tow point we have to get a wrecker or a tractor with a chain. If the rope breaks bad things can still happen, but no metal ends flying around.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:58 AM   #3
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A few things to ponder... What was the rating on the strap? Since it broke from the stuck vehicle what was it attached to? Did the poor man race and jerk the truck or was it slow and methodical? And finally, how stuck was this vehicle and maybe a tow strap was not strong enough, a properly rated chain or cable would have been better options as long as they have the better ratings. Tow straps are intended to tow, not rescue.

You are so right about having to be careful - everything must be considered. It doesn't do any good to have tools you don't know how to use or know the dangers. This is one reason I haven't gone out and bought that winch I've been wanting. Maybe a headache rack is a good idea too, if one is expecting to rescue vehicles! This story sure opened my eyes some more.

This whole tragedy, besides the Good Samaritan losing his life is that a little girl does not have a Daddy any more and worse yet, she was present when all this happened. This is a big loss for his family and he was trying to be a good guy!
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:03 AM   #4
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So sad, a horrible thing to happen to anyone.
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:06 AM   #5
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Hi

I always use a chain. I have broken them but they donít stretch like a rubber band.

Phil P
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Art-n-Marge

A few things to ponder... What was the rating on the strap? Since it broke from the stuck vehicle what was it attached to? Did the poor man race and jerk the truck or was it slow and methodical? And finally, how stuck was this vehicle and maybe a tow strap was not strong enough, a properly rated chain or cable would have been better options as long as they have the better ratings. Tow straps are intended to tow, not rescue.

You are so right about having to be careful - everything must be considered. It doesn't do any good to have tools you don't know how to use or know the dangers. This is one reason I haven't gone out and bought that winch I've been wanting. Maybe a headache rack is a good idea too, if one is expecting to rescue vehicles! This story sure opened my eyes some more.

This whole tragedy, besides the Good Samaritan losing his life is that a little girl does not have a Daddy any more and worse yet, she was present when all this happened. This is a big loss for his family and he was trying to be a good guy!
Art, If I read the post correctly the strap came loose. It did not break. Regarless of the cause still tragic. Jim
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:19 PM   #7
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Anytime you are attempting to pull something with a cable, chain or tow strap you are doing something that is potentially life threatening. I have seen cable and chains break. And when they break you had best be out of the range of them! My uncle was killed by a chain breaking while he was working with timber. This is so tragic. The poor little girl being there when her father was killed will live with that for the rest of her life.

Lets be careful out there. Dennis
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:44 PM   #8
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Right Jimcol... I realize that, however when the strap came loose from the stuck truck, a strap is rated as a whole includes the webbing, the hooks, etc. Therefore when the strap separated from the truck in the ditch and at the hook, and then came back at the driver, it's unknown if the hook failed, or what the hook was attached to, that possibly failed or something else. If the strap itself had broken, then things might have faired better. I just wish there was more information about this unfortunate accident to better understand what went wrong.

I, at least am guessing, that a strap was not the appropriate thing to use and should only be used for towing on the flat and not dragging something out of a ditch. A metal chain or cable would have been better, but it's still hard to judge if things would have faired well anyway. As others posted this is very touchy stuff and people lose lives (my sentiments to HamRad). Which is another reluctance for me to run out and get a winch/cable etc. I've been told by others that with the first 4x4 I've ever owned that there are two types of 4x4 owners - those that have been stuck and those that are gonna get stuck. I hear a winch is good to own for just these times. In the meantime, I will try and be a 3rd type of owner and don't put myself in a position to get stuck - so no snow, no mud, no ditches and so far no problems.

My sympathy to this man's family for trying to help. I agree it was tragic.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:09 PM   #9
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There are straps made for extricating stuck vehicles and they do an excellent job of it. As always you have to have the proper one for the job. It is never a good idea to stand close to a chain, cable or strap that has a strain on it that's just looking for trouble
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:30 PM   #10
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Too bad about that person being killed.
I was always under the impression that when using a nilon tow or snaching strap, that wraping a blanket around the strap will prevet that from happining, when I was in a off road club that is what we did regardless of the strap or chain I have seen untrained people use the ball of there hitch to hold the strap or chain and I have seen them brake too and watch the strap pop back through the window of the vehicle being dislodged. I have also seen what happens when a blanket is wraped around the strap, it snaps back and it looses all its energy when it reaches the blanket then falls to the ground.
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Old 12-03-2011, 03:49 AM   #11
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Sad information to learn. Having towed many farm tractors, trucks, and logged using chains and straps of various sizes the fault is typically with the user. We learned early in life to use caution. I still have a 3" log chain (that is a big big chain) broken by my uncle because first he didn't own the truck he was using (not his money), second he did not take time to listen to my father about being cautious (always in a hurry), and third he didn't want to be told how to do something. By chance my father and others made it through the experience uninjured.
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Old 12-03-2011, 03:55 AM   #12
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As Don stated. A lot of towing straps and chains have a shock absorber wrapped around the middle of the area. However, if you are on the wrong side of that area you can still be struck.

I have seen a chain break once in my life and it was like a shotgun blast going of. Fortunately no one was hit by the flying chain.

Recently I was out on the TC Dike and a guy could not get his boat out of the water. There was a friend there with a van and I saw, believe it or not, a 3/8" nylon rope they had. Hooked it up with about 20 feet of length. Told the tower to just take up the slack, told both of them that when i gave the word to just gently try to move forward. Then I back away about 50 feet on the side and gave the word(sign). It was just enough to let the truck and boat climb the slippery slope. I kept waiting for that rope to break, and this was just a long shot, but it worked.

I wonder in the OP who tied the strap on. It was an unfortunate accident. I hope a 4 year old is to young to remember.
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:42 AM   #13
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Any time you are trying to recover a stuck vehicle with a chain, rope or strap you must always have a tarp, heavy blanket over the chain. this aill deaden, slow down and stop the reaction of
the flying chain, rope or strap. Towing a moveable object or a rolling vehicle is by far a different sitution.
Joe
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:11 AM   #14
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I was a flight engineer in the army, qualified instructor on straps, chains, cables, ratchets, winches, etc. I owned a towing co. for 35 years. Within 3 yrs of retirement I had a strap break, properly attached, and I was behind a tow truck, using all precautions. Still took 35 stitches to close the cut above my left eye. All of me that was exposed was the area from my eyes to the top of my head. Bad things happen, even when you are aware and trying your best to be safe. Very sorry to hear of this terrible trajedy, especially for the little girl. Even the best trained pros get killed doing what they do, so be very careful out there.
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Old 12-03-2011, 12:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Phil P

Hi

I always use a chain. I have broken them but they donít stretch like a rubber band.

Phil P
That is the whole advantage of a strap. They stretch and thus avoid the hard jerk you get from a chain. Properly used, they are far more effective than a chain too. Plus they weigh less and are easier to handle. What gives this story away is the fact that the strap had a metal hook on it. Straps with hooks on them are NOT rated very high in strength and are only intended for towing, NOT vehicle recovery. People misuse 'tow straps' all the time this way.
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:16 AM   #16
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Ditto Don's comment re. blanket or rug over the strap or chain. Absorbs the energy and falls to the ground. I learned the hard way, re. broken tailight. Be safe out there...every time!
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:18 PM   #17
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http://www.offroaders.com/tech/Tow_Straps.htm
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:00 PM   #18
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Fauch,
Thanks for the link regarding the tow and recovery straps. Very good info. Happy Trails, Dennis.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:02 AM   #19
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Fauch, Thanks for a very informative article. Jim
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