Man rescued from Hi-Crush retention pond issues statement

Robbie Gunderson, whose bulldozer was submerged in a retention pond at Hi-Crush Sand Mine in Whitehall Monday, issues a statement.

“I am grateful to be alive today and enjoying another day with my wife and two children. The events and emotions of Monday (May 21) are nearly impossible to describe – being submerged under sand and water while at the same time knowing I had some of the best people up top working quickly to save me. Words cannot describe how indebted I am to my fellow workers at Hi-Crush, the emergency responders, my employer, Gerke Excavation, and the community I call home.

“That said, this has been a very difficult time as news media attention has been unbelievable. I respectfully ask you in the news media to appreciate my family’s need for privacy at this time and accept this statement as my response to your thoughtful requests to “tell my story”. In short, I will not be doing interviews. Thank you for your interest.”

PREVIOUS: Authorities received a call at 7:53 a.m., May 21, and all units were dispatched to the sand mine. The man was pulled to safety by rescue boat and transported to a nearby hospital.

“When incidents occur, we periodically have drills from situations such as this so that we are prepared and also look at some of our partners in the area to help,” said Joni Olson, CEO of Gundersen Tri-County Hospital.

Several firefighters were treated and released at Tri County Memorial Hospital for minor injuries, according to the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department.

“This is a true testament to rural Wisconsin to see so many agencies come together to do a coordinated effort to see a person’s life saved,” said Chief Deputy Harlan Reinders of the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department.

Assisting in the rescue were Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office, Whitehall Police Department, Whitehall Fire Department, Independence Fire Department, Arcadia Fire Department, Tri-County Ambulance, Medlink Helicopter, Gold Cross Ambulance, Arcadia Ambulance, Jackson county Dive team, Kabus Auto Body and Recovery, Gehrke Trucking and the Trempealeau County Highway Department.