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Rescue On Pit River Bridge

Written by: George Chittenden : 23 Oct 2019

This rather dramatic photo was taken on May 3rd, 1953 on the Pit River Bridge, over Shasta Lake in California. The traffic accident left the truck’s driver Paul Overby and co-driver Hank Baum trapped in the cab of the truck, dangling over the bridge and about to fall and die as the vehicle hit the rocks below. Thankfully both drivers survived and were rescued just in time by two rather heroic members of the public and a length of rope.

The truck’s drivers were trapped in the cab, dangling over the bridge.

The truck’s drivers were trapped in the cab, dangling over the bridge.

Interestingly this unusual photo actually made history. The photo was taken by an amateur photographer, Virginia Schau, who was on a fishing trip with her husband and witnessed the accident. Whilst her husband helped save the drivers lives, Virginia snapped this image on her Kodak Brownie. The photo won her a $10 prize in the Sacramento Bee's weekly photo contest, but more significantly it also won the prestigious Pulitzer prize for photography in 1954, making Virginia Schau the first female in history to win it.

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