Winery owner rescued from pond

Fire ladder extended to man atop SUV
2013-03-06T20:38:00Z 2013-03-07T07:40:31Z Winery owner rescued from pondKERANA TODOROV Napa Valley Register
March 06, 2013 8:38 pm  • 

An winery owner apparently misjudged a road and ended up in a decorative pond Tuesday night at Vine Cliff Winery on the Silverado Trail, according to CalFire/Napa County Fire Department.

Firefighters used a 105-foot ladder truck to rescue Chuck Sweeney after his SUV landed in 4 to 6 feet of water, 10 to 15 feet from the bank.

Following the mishap in the 7400 block of the Trail, Sweeney pushed an emergency “OnStar” button, which notified 911 at 8:10 p.m., Battalion Chief Pete Muñoa said. The driver, who was alone in the vehicle, managed to lift himself to the roof of the SUV.

As rain fell, firefighters lowered the ladder to rescue Sweeney. A firefighter helped him put on a flotation vest and reach the tip of the rescue ladder, Muñoa said. Another firefighter then held onto him as the ladder rotated back to the roadway.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter also responded to the incident.

The driver was then checked out by American Medical Response ambulance personnel, but was not transported to the hospital.

“He’s fine,” son Rob Sweeney said Wednesday.

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(13) Comments

  1. DeerparkJim
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    DeerparkJim - March 07, 2013 4:57 am
    Helicopter on site for a car in two feet deep water and 15 feet from shore. I guess the budget cuts aren't that bad yet.
  2. chunk215
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    chunk215 - March 07, 2013 8:02 am
    All that for someone who essentially fell into a pool. Wow. The Incident Commander might want to cancel some resources next time. Even the ladder truck seemed too much. A rope bag thrown to the guy probably would've done.
  3. Sickothis
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    Sickothis - March 07, 2013 8:44 am
    Floatation device? Helicopter? Wow.
  4. corkdork27
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    corkdork27 - March 07, 2013 11:40 am
    Chuck is a good man, glad he wasn't hurt!
  5. Sickothis
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    Sickothis - March 07, 2013 2:21 pm
    I wonder if they got there, started laughing and said - Hey! Stay right there. We'll use you for practice.
  6. jgreen
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    jgreen - March 07, 2013 2:58 pm
    Glad he's all right. Anybody check his blood-alcohol level?
  7. brownsvalleygirl
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    brownsvalleygirl - March 07, 2013 2:59 pm
    I thought this was an overreaction until I saw the last photo. I, for one, am thankful they rescued him before that scary dragon got to him! Whew.
  8. vegan 4 life
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    vegan 4 life - March 08, 2013 2:56 pm
    Why he couldn't make it to "shore" is unclear to me. Glad he's okay, but seems there could have been a easier way. And who pays for the resources used?
    I sure got a kick out of some of the comments! :)
  9. gettingreal
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    gettingreal - March 09, 2013 9:08 am
    You can't make this stuff up! From the photos, the fire men appear to be afraid of water also. Policy trumps reality.
  10. Ricecooker
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    Ricecooker - March 09, 2013 9:09 am
    Thank God for "On Star" .
    The button is on the ceiling for a reason, this will make a great advertisement.
    The rain would have been the end.
    Next time take a cab...
  11. glenroy
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    glenroy - March 10, 2013 7:23 am
    ....for 2' of water?
  12. IreneFromNapa
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    IreneFromNapa - March 10, 2013 6:36 pm
    ''An winery owner apparently misjudged a road and ended up in a decorative pond''

    "Apparently" is a great word to use, must of bought the winery in that recent week, to apparently misjudge his way.
  13. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - March 11, 2013 2:58 pm
    In all fairness, how old is the guy? Can he swim? I dunno, but if I was toward the middle of a dark, scary looking pond at night, I'm not so sure I would want to navigate my way through a muddy bottom which might trap me like quicksand. I would call someone for help, just for backup. I'm more inclined to blame the rescuers for the overreaction. Thank goodness we live in a place where they have the time and resources available to overreact rather than under react. All in all, it was good practice.
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