Francois Rossouw
Mark Rendell

Pontoon Truck Update: Still Submerged, but No Leaks

Retrieval will have to wait until the ice has gone, environmental damage seems limited

Peer through the truck-sized hole in the brittle ice of Pontoon Lake, and you’ll spot Yellowknife’s most celebrated shipwreck still languishing on the muddy lakebed.

The $80,000 Ford F350 diesel truck ended up bottom-side after being driven out onto to Pontoon Lake’s already iffy- ice on the inadvisably late date of May 5.

No efforts have been made so far to haul the truck out, nor are any expected until the ice is completely gone.

“I’m concerned about the environment, but I don’t feel comfortable to order someone to compromise their safety on the thin ice,” says water resource officer Nahum Lee, who’s been out monitoring the site every second day since the truck went through.

Luckily there haven’t been any fuel leaks yet, he says.

“I’m surprised. I would have expected some… We took a sample from the hole and nothing, then drilled a grid pattern of holes around the ice, to make sure we weren’t getting any hydrocarbons stuck under the ice. All were clear.”

Although the truck’s newness (2012) must make the whole thing even more depressing for the owner, it’s probably helped from an environmental perspective; newer engines tend to be better sealed.

When it does come time to salvage the vehicle, Lee seemed to think the best option would be attaching a giant tube around the truck then filling it with compressed air so the truck floats to the surface. From there it could be bobbed over to the ramp and hauled out.