Man trapped in storm drain for more than a day rescued in Catoosa County

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Courtesy of Catoosa County Government Facebook

Firefighters in Catoosa County, along with multiple partners, rescued a man on Tuesday who was trapped in a storm drain beneath Georgia Highway 2 in Fort Oglethorpe. The dramatic operation lasted over nine hours.

The ordeal began when Catoosa County 911 received a call from a motorist who heard cries for help near the intersection of Highway 27. Fort Oglethorpe Police rushed to the scene and requested assistance from the Catoosa County Fire Department. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered a man trapped in a 24-inch drainpipe under Georgia Highway 2. Additional fire companies, including the department’s Special Operations team and Walker County Fire Rescue, were called in for support.

The storm drain was found to be half-clogged with heavy, rocky debris. Firefighters, armed with hand tools, worked to clear the blockage. They also received help from a vacuum truck provided by Fort Oglethorpe Public Works to remove the stubborn material.

Throughout the rescue, 22-year-old Thomas Loher remained conscious and communicated with the firefighters. Loher, who had been reported missing by his family earlier that day, is believed to have been trapped since the previous day when he entered the storm drain for unknown reasons.

Following his extraction, Loher was taken by Puckett EMS to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.

Catoosa County Fire Chief Daniel Walston expressed gratitude for the collaborative effort that led to the successful rescue. "Thanks to our firefighters putting their confined space rescue training to work and the assistance from several partnering agencies, this lengthy and technical rescue has a successful outcome," he said.

Chief Walston extended his appreciation to the following partnering agencies:

  • Walker County Fire Rescue
  • Fort Oglethorpe Police Department
  • Catoosa County Sheriff's Office
  • Catoosa County E-911
  • Puckett EMS
  • Erlanger Special Operations Team and LIFE FORCE Air Medical
  • Walker County Sheriff's Office
  • Georgia State Patrol
  • City of Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia - Local Government Public Works
  • Georgia Department of Transportation
  • Hamilton County Rescue Rehab
  • Tri State Mutual Aid