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Two Billings businesses team up to 'tow' truck out from beneath the Rims

Truck flying over Billings
Posted at 5:10 PM, Mar 11, 2024

BILLINGS - On Monday morning, Hanser's Automotive and the Billings Flying Service partnered up to remove a pickup truck stuck underneath the Rims for five weeks.

According to authorities, the truck ended up there after a 30-year-old man intentionally drove off of the Rims following a high-speed chase with police.

Shel Hanser, the owner of Hanser's Automotive, said it took weeks of planning.

"There's a lot of preparation behind the scenes," Hanser said following the successful removal Monday. "Just from the road closure perspective and then even setting up the rig. It's important that it's level so that there aren't any fluids leaking."

Billings Flying Service Crew Chief Ty Parsons said his crew had to do its own planning.

"We wanted to make sure that it worked with the airport and that we'd be in the sky at the right time for them," Parsons said. "Honestly, Hanser's made it easy for us. We set the hook down to them, they grabbed it, hooked onto it, we pulled tension and pulled it up."

Both businesses have had plenty of experience in these types of rescues. In January, Hanser's helped tow a jet out of a ravine near Livingston.

The Billings Flying Service is more accustomed to helping fight fires, but Parsons said there isn't a huge difference between the large water bucket they fly with and the truck recovered on Monday.

"We're more comfortable with that for sure," Parsons said. "But the weight of the truck isn't much different than that and so we were happy to help."

Billings Flying Service

On Monday, their experience and professionalism was on full display, as the operation was completed in less than five minutes of flying.

"You couldn't have asked for a better job," Parsons said. "It went real smooth."

"Traffic was stopped for about four or five minutes and the whole thing was that quick," Hanser said. "But that's what we expect. You get two good businesses working together, it should result like that."

While Monday's mission was a success, Hanser kept things in perspective. He added that even though these towing missions can be exciting, many come from sad circumstances.

"The problem with a whole ordeal like this is there was tragedy on the other end that leads to it," Hanser said. "So we keep those people in our thoughts as well, but it's important for our community to be able to do stuff like this for sure."