Morgan's Accident


This page is about Karen's Horse Morgan's brush with death in early July, 2003. Below there are pictures of the accident and also the reconstruction afterwards. Click on the small pictures below to see the larger, original pictures.

On 07/01/03, Karen and Kyle received over 5 inches of rain due to tropical storm Bill. Their 50 year old pond was already full to capacity. On the night of 07/01, we checked the dam and the overflow. There was a tremendous amount of water flowing into and out of the pond. Kyle estimated it at about 30-50 gallons per second. All was well, so we went to bed and didn't worry about it. The spill way was doing its job as it had many times over the last half century. Around 7:00 A.M. on 07/02/03, Kyle and Karen both went outside to check things out. Oddly, Morgan wasn't at the fence begging for morning sweet feed like he normally does. So Karen went to feed the ducks and Kyle went down to the pond telling Karen, "If I see Morgan, I'll tell him its time for breakfast."

Kyle went down to the dam to check how much water was still going over the spill way. When he turned the corner onto the dam, he saw something and honestly did not believe his eyes. Kyle could see just the top of Morgan's head and Morgan's ears sticking up above the grass. It was a complete optical illusion, that the hole the horse was in, could not be seen. Kyle ran over to check on Morgan. He was okay, and calm (probably exhausted), so Kyle reassured him and ran back to get Karen. Kyle told Karen that Morgan was okay, but he was in real trouble. They went over Morgan, assessed the situation and went to get tools. They got shovels, rope, and the telephone. Upon coming back they decided right away they needed to call 911.

When the police, fire, and rescue arrived, Kyle coordinated at the house, and Karen coordinated at the pond. Kyle, Karen, and the emergency crew worked like one giant, well coordinated team. It took about 45 minutes to an hour once the rescue team arrived to get Morgan out of the hole. Around that time Morgan's veterenarian arrived with plenty of drugs and fluids. A man from GEMA also arrived and examined the dam and talked with Kyle about the dam rebuild. He determined it was still intact enough not to threaten the lives of those down stream. Also at that time, the news crews started arriving. Karen, Kyle, and several firemen gave interviews to the media. It was getting very hectic by then with the news, the emergency crew, GEMA, and James (more on him later).

Morgan had to be walked and have a lot of TLC for the rest of the day which Karen did.

What caused the accident? A tree root combined with the pressure of the much higher than normal pressure due to the higher than normal water allowed water to get "blown" into the dam. When the water worked its way out of the other side of the damn, it created a stream inside the dam. The stream erroded a two-tiered cavern. The larger part of the cavern was about 9' (that's FEET) high; one could put a full sized van in that cavern. There was a smaller cavern, sort of like a plateau underground. It appears that the ground appeared solid before Morgan walked across it. Luckily Morgan fell in the shallow part of the cavern. His butt almost kept falling off into the big cavern during the resue. Several hours after the rescue, the large cavern collapsed.


Morgan's accident was covered on channel 2 (ABC), 11 (NBC), 46 (CBS), and by the Gwinnett Daily Post. The pictures you will see below that Kyle took during the accident were requested and used in the reports by 2, 46, and the GDP. In fact, the GDP's cover story was about Morgan's accident, and the big, main, color picture on the front cover was one of these that were taken during the rescue. Channel 2 did a live broadcast from Kyle and Karen's house. Kyle and friends recorded the news broadcasts and plans to edit them together as a keepsake.

Special People

Donna Satterfield is a great neighbor who took the day off from work to help Kyle and Karen with everything. After the rescue, she made lunch, rented a 3" water pump and helped with everything imaginable. She is a wonderful person, friend, and neighbor.

James Eison is Morgan's ferrier. He also works for a heavy equipment company. James came in and "took over" on what needed to be done. He got his boss to allow him to use a Caterpiller 312 track hoe to rebuild the dam. James worked very hard and helped out more than one can say. He saved Kyle and Karen thousands of dollars. He is a great man who rose to the occasion when needed.

Now on to the pictures. Click on the small picture to see the original, larger picture.

Fuzzy picture of Morgan in the hole.
This one was on the news. Luckily Morgan realized not to struggle while he was being "hooked up".

This one was on the news. Here you can really tell how deep he is, and you can see the water still squirting through the dam.

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This one was on the news and was the color cover picture for the Gwinnett Daily Post.

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This is right after Morgan came out of the hole. You can see the one fireman there trying to catch his breath.
Channel 2 news truck set up to do the live broadcast.
Channel 2 TV personality Carol Sbarge editing the story right before her live broadcast. I always thought they did this part at the station. If you click on the picture, in the blown up version, you can see the fireman giving his interview on the small monitors. Funny aside, she showed up to our muddy place in a silk/satin looking pant suit wearing open toed designer sandals, LOL.

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Morgan after the incident, being cared for by Karen. You can sort of see from this picture how big his left leg got. It was about twice the size of his right one.
Water still rushing through the dam.
Nice view of where the firemen cut out the hole to get Morgan out.
Here you can almost see into the underground cavern.

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Kyle's truck and tractor got a lot of good use during the whole ordeal. Here, the tractor is holding the hose being used to drain the pond. The hose had way too much force for a human to hold it.

Pictures from here down are about the deconstruction and reconstruction of the dam.

James and the track hoe.
Here James "lost it" and the machine slid right down into the pond. He had to use the scoop to pull the track hoe back out.

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The track hoe actually "fish tailed" all the way over to here before getting out of the muck.
James and Kyle lining up the pipe.
Randy running the transit.
Randy came out with his transom and helped us put in the pipe out of the goodness of his heart. I don't know his last name, and I've never met him before. THANKS RANDY!
Kyle in the bucket trying to mark the pipe for cutting later.
Kyle in the bucket, LOL.

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More to come later.