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So last week my folks were on a cruise in Alaska which left me with the duties of keeping up with there place. Actually they had just asked me to take care of the dogs and feed the ducks. No problem as they only live 10 miles from me and are somewhat on the way to and from work. Well last Wed. I decided to take a day off to mow there place and mine as the yards had finally dried out enough to mow for the first time in about a week and half.

So Wed. morning at around 930 or so I get to my parents house which is very secluded as it sets about 1/2 a mile back of the road with no neighbors that can see anything but the front yard. Pond and majority of the property is in the rear. My dad has a conventional garden tractor that he uses to mow close to the pond and a Ferris 61" zero turn that mows everything else. Well I open up the garage and the battery doesn't have enough juice to get the garden tractor going so I throw a charger on it and decide I will do the trim pass on the pond later.

I jump on the Ferris and fire it up and do a trim pass around the shed, garage, and garden which leaves me lined up to go down the long side of the pond which has a moderately steep bank in a few places. So I stay 3-4 feet from the edge of the somewhat eroded bank and make my pass blowing everything away from the pond. At the other end I decide to turn around and go back blowing towards the pond one mower width further up the bank. So I get back most of the way to the other end and this is where the steepest bank is with the most erosion and there is also a gazebo setting at the top of the bank with landscaping around it. Now to go past it I only have a foot or so of grass to mow by the gazebo as the rest was cut by the first pass. As I go by I bump the landscaping stones just enough with the deck to make the drive tires start to slip down the hill ont he wet grass that I had exposed by cutting off the dry tops on the previous path. Within a split second I had slid down the hill and went off a 2 foot or so vertical drop off into the pond. The mower rolled completely upside down with me pinned underneath of it on my side from just below my ribs down. Of course your first response is to get your head up above the water, which I could not. I could get close enough that the water was clear instead of having the brown tint of the pond but not enough to get my head above water. Luckily after what seemed like eternity, in all actuality probably 15-20 seconds, I was able to get rolled on to my back. I was then able to use both arms to push on the side of the mower and get the side of the mower down to my waste which allowed me to setup and get my head above water to get a couple breaths before I went back under to work on getting my legs out from under it which I did relatively easy.

Morals of the story gentlemen
1 You can never be to cautious around our ponds. A very slight error running a piece of equipment I don't operate on a routine basis about cost me my life.
2 ROPS are there for a reason and the one on that mower saved my life. Had it not been there I would have been pinned much worse and highly doubt I could have forced my way out from under the 1400lb mower.


Last edited by BLUE72CAMARO; 07/27/15 02:44 PM.

My pond renovation thread here
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Whoo dude. About two thirds reading through this I thought he must have been OK to have posted this.

Super scary for sure. Really glad your ok.


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Very glad to hear you escaped relatively unscathed from such a horrendous event! Way too close a call. One of my customers rode their zero-turn down into an extremely steep sinkhole a few days ago, both mower and operator somehow emerged unscathed.

When a ZT starts to slide, it is near impossible to recover - at that point you are merely an unwilling passenger. And yes, I've had to get the tractor to pull mine out of the pond a couple times, when "just one more pass down a little lower", was one pass too many. Never had it where the water depth got up past the top of the deck, though.

You're lucky. And great job keeping your wits about you, your ability to remain calm probably helped save your life.


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
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Yes other than a drowned cell phone, a soar side, and a banged up knee I am unscathed physically. Mentally still a little rattled to be honest. I am fortunate that I grew up around water my entire life and took swimming lessons from a toddler until I would have been able to be a lifeguard as an early teen. I do remember consciously thinking to not take a breath of water that my body was screaming for while I was trying to get unpinned. As lungs full of water would have been the end.

Remarkably the old mans mower was unscathed pretty much to. As the ROPS kept the motor out of the water except for the top of the air cleaner. The only damage done to it was bent up arm rests on the seat, I believe this may have been what I was hung on and bent them to get free, and a little bit of water in the hyd. system.


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Not that it matters when you're just grateful to still be alive, but water in a hydro system can wreak havoc. Hydrostatic drives can run very hot, and may boil any water present. The resulting pockets of steam will create voids where there should be constant, uninterrupted fluid travel, and the units will vapor lock.


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
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Wow! Glad you are ok!


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Wow! So glad to hear you escaped what could have been a tragedy! I've been on my ZTR when it starts sliding and like Spark said, at that point you become an unwilling passenger!

And thank you for sharing your story! A reminder for all of us to think safety first, take nothing for granted and if you're alone, be sure someone knows where you are, and if you're about to do something stupid questionable, let someone know!

(yes, this comes from experience wink )


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I will learn from your experience. I will never buy a ZT with the hills I have to mow. I will never mow too close to anything just to save myself time with the weedeater. Glad you are OK.

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Glad you are OK!!

Every instance where someone I personally know was not being cautious with riding mowers, utility tractors, and such, have all been tragic. Least instance is where a young girl lost her foot, worst is obviously, they were killed. It don't take much to crush your skull and kill you, or break your back and paralyze you from the neck down like my friend Pat.

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Happy to hear you lived to tell about it, Blue.

I nearly had a scare similar to this in my skidloader a couple weeks ago. Luckily the slope wasn't too great and once I realized I wasn't getting out of it, I stopped and pulled it out with the tractor.

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That sure got my attention. I'm glad you are ok. Way to keep a clear head in a clearly disparate situation. I don't live on the property where my pond is. I go up and mow every week. Around the pond is every other week. I'm always in a hurry, have lots to do in a short time period. I want to be around to enjoy it with the grand kids.
Thanks for the eye opener..
Jeff


9 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (only one seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) Have seen one of these.
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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I was expecting more of a humorous tale, but WOW!!!!

Glad you're OK!!!

I've never worked with one, but I'm guessing the blades cease to spin quickly enough in an instance like that?


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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I feel for you. I put my ZT in the pond last year....it threw me out of the seat and into the water running over my leg. Thank goodness for the kill switch in the seat.

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Originally Posted By: Sunil
I was expecting more of a humorous tale, but WOW!!!!

Glad you're OK!!!

I've never worked with one, but I'm guessing the blades cease to spin quickly enough in an instance like that?


If you come off the seat, AND if some genius hasn't disabled the safety protocols, then yes, the blades will shut off.


Quick mower tip: I get asked weekly to disable the safety so folks can get off the mower while it's running. I tell them all the same thing, that being you can do that NOW, on any manufacturer's machine. You can never dismount while the blades are turning, but if you shut the deck down and set the parking brake you can hop right off and move that garden hose or tree branch while leaving the engine running. Always amazed at the number of people who are not aware of this.


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
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Thanks guys just thankful to still be here at this point!

Originally Posted By: Sunil


I've never worked with one, but I'm guessing the blades cease to spin quickly enough in an instance like that?


To the best of my recollection everything had went silent before I had entered the water. I was not under the deck it the way you are thinking though. The mower had rolled completely upside down with the deck facing the sky, I was trapped beneath the seat and fuel tanks that are on both sides of you when operating the mower.

Here is a stock picture of the model mower he has to help visualize what I am saying.


sparkplug as far as the water in the hyd. I went and talked to the head mechanic at the dealership. Also a friend of the family for probably 20 years now. It is not water logged, just got enough moisture in the oil to make it a slight bit milky. Not coffee with a ton of creamer in it milky, maybe cloudy is a better way to describe it. I changed the filter and dumped the reservoir and will repeat again before fall at his recommendation.


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Blue, thanks. I didn't think the blades came down on you, but more so just that aspect of danger......in addition to drowning!!!


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Eeek! I have the same mower and I run it right up to the edge. It isn't steep though, relatively flat. One swat at a bug and I am going for an unwanted swim.

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That sounds like a scary mowing story. Glad your ok


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