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Two people rescued after car trapped under tractor in Gaston

Rescuers work to free two people trapped in this car in Gaston, Oregon on Wednesday night after a tractor towing a combine crashed on top of them. (KATU Photo

Firefighters rescued two people Wednesday night during a huge rescue operation after a tractor towing a combine crashed on top of a car, trapping the victims inside.

Rescue crews were called at about 8: 40 p.m., and after about two hours they freed the two victims, who were then flown to the hospital in two separate helicopters to Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Firefighters said the victims should survive. Their injuries were said to be minor to serious.

According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, two tractors towing combines were going south on Front Street downtown when a 2006 Pontiac Solstice coming in the opposite direction clipped one of the tractors, which pulled the car into the path of the other tractor. That tractor then ran over the car.

To rescue the victims, crews hoisted the tractor up onto wooden blocks and pulled the car free. Then they were able to get the people out of the car.

While crews worked to free them, the people trapped inside the car were talking to rescuers throughout the ordeal. Firefighters said they gave IVs to the people and gave them treatment while they were still trapped in their car.

To make it out of the car and survive, rescuers said the victims were fortunate.

Thursday morning, the Washington County Sheriff's Office identified the driver as 73-year-old Victor Joseph Accomando and the passenger as 62-year-old Donna Carolyn Accomando.

“I’m not sure how it happened or where it landed,” said Matt Johnson, with Forest Grove Fire & Rescue. “I don’t think the vehicle was crushed, per say, over the passenger compartment. I think the wheels went over the hood of the car or something like that. But it looks like it pretty much missed the passenger compartment, so they were somewhat protected underneath the two wheel wells of the tractor, since they do sit high for the work they do in the fields.”

The tractors were driven by a 15- and 17-year-old. The sheriff's office said they both had valid licenses to operate the tractors.

Firefighters from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and Forest Grove Fire assisted Gaston crews.

Gaston is located southwest of Hillsboro.

Below: KATU Reporter Nate Bynum's tweets during the rescue.



Officials closed Highway 47 in Gaston during the rescue.

Sheriff's deputies are investigating the crash.

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