A sinking tale

A CRAZY THING HAPPENED — Gary Lydin of Apple Valley Drilling paces near his downed drilling rig while talking with his insurance carrier.

SUNNYSIDE — All was going swimmingly last Thursday afternoon, until it wasn’t for two men drilling a well on Bagley Drive.

David Oldham and Gary Lydin of Apple Valley Drilling were in the midst of a routine drilling.

“We’d been drilling three to four hours,” Oldham recalled.

The two were standing near the rig used to drill for water wells when they noticed a slow-motion shift as the vehicle began tipping toward the property at 717 Bagley Drive.

“It was like you see in the movies,” Oldham quipped amidst the wreckage caused by the large vehicle tipping onto its driver’s side.

What caused the destruction that downed a power line and fencing, as well as the truck was a sinkhole where the downrigger was, he said.

“It was solid and steady,” Oldham said of the ground beneath the piece of equipment that stabilizes the drilling rig. “Then, it was gone.”

The property at 719 Bagley Drive was in need of a new well because the old one dried up, Oldham said.

He and Lydin were contracted to do the work because the city’s water line doesn’t reach the property.

Oldham pointed to the nearest hydrant, less than a football field away, and noted its where the city water stops.

While telling the tale of what he described as a surreal event, a lineman from Pacific Power was going about his business to disconnect the downed line so a new one could be connected once the rig was upright again.

“The wire disconnected at a joint and wasn’t live, thankfully,” Oldham said.

“The important thing is nobody got hurt,” he said.

Lydin, just off the phone with his wife who was handling the calls to insurance, said he’d only seen something similar happen nearly four decades ago.

He got to work getting the rig ready for being righted after saying, “You wonder all those years of paying insurance… this is why, and my insurance said it’s covered.”

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