The muddy sand of the south Kenai beach traps Armin Schmidt’s pickup truck on Thursday, July 27, 2017 in Kenai, Alaska. Schmidt, a commercial set gillnet fisherman, was driving the truck Wednesday when it sank into the spongy mud in the intertidal area of the south Kenai beach near the jersey barrier designating the legal personal-use dipnet area. He was working with the city of Kenai’s Parks and Recreation Department, which coordinates the dipnet, to get it it out Thursday. No one was hurt in the incident. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

The muddy sand of the south Kenai beach traps Armin Schmidt’s pickup truck on Thursday, July 27, 2017 in Kenai, Alaska. Schmidt, a commercial set gillnet fisherman, was driving the truck Wednesday when it sank into the spongy mud in the intertidal area of the south Kenai beach near the jersey barrier designating the legal personal-use dipnet area. He was working with the city of Kenai’s Parks and Recreation Department, which coordinates the dipnet, to get it it out Thursday. No one was hurt in the incident. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Owner, Kenai Parks and Rec work to retrieve truck stuck in south beach

Update, 7/28/17, 1 p.m.: The truck’s owner was able to pull the vehicle out of the beach with the help of other private commercial set gillnet fishermen on Thursday. Schmidt said he could not find another local business that would help him pull his truck out of the beach and had to enlist private help, which he said was frustrating.

The spongy mud of the south Kenai beach claimed another vehicular victim Wednesday.

Commercial set gillnet fisherman Armin Schmidt’s white 2005 Ford pickup truck got stuck in the mud on the south Kenai beach on Wednesday and spent the night in Cook Inlet when it couldn’t be removed before the tide came in Wednesday night. Schmidt and the Kenai Parks and Recreation Department were working Thursday on freeing the truck.

Schmidt was trying to drive around the barrier marking the boundary of the legal personal-use dipnet area on the south Kenai beach on his way back to his setnet site near mile 12 of Kalifornsky Beach Road when his truck got stuck in the mud. The tide was coming in but the truck was stuck fast. Schmidt said he tried to have a wrecker help him pull it out, but the driver tried to pull it straight up the beach rather than at an angle, so the attempt failed.

On Thursday, waiting for the tide to go out, Schmidt pointed out the softness of the mud near the tide line.

“It was just the weight of the truck,” he said. “I got out and walked it to check.”

No one was hurt, though the truck was underwater overnight. Schmidt said he opened the window and joked that he would have kept any fish that wound up in the truck.

A lifelong Kenai Peninsula resident and longtime east side setnetter, Schmidt said he has driven thousands of miles on the Kenai beach and knows them well. Other than the monetary frustration of losing the vehicle, he said he was glad no one was hurt. He said a skidder was coming Thursday to pull the vehicle out.

“I’m just grateful to be alive,” he said.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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