WALLER, Texas – Four-time Indianapolis 500 champion A.J. Foyt escaped injury, but got quite a scare Thursday when the bulldozer he was operating plunged into a lake and landed upside down in the water.
Foyt was working on the edge of the lake when the bank gave way under the bulldozer. He estimated the bulldozer dropped about 15 feet into the lake.
“It scared me,” the 72-year-old Foyt said in a release early Friday from his spokeswoman, Anne Fornoro. “It was such a helpless feeling when that dirt broke away and I was going down and down.”
Foyt still planned to fly Friday to Michigan to oversee his ABC Supply Racing team in the IndyCar Series race this weekend.
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Foyt said the steel cage “probably saved my life, because without it, the dozer would have crushed me.” Once in the water, Foyt had to crawl through the front of the cage to swim out.
“It was hard to do under water with all my clothes on and with my bum legs and all,” Foyt said. “I’ll be honest, I was panicked a little bit.”
Foyt said he was out of breath by time he got on top of the bulldozer, which was totally submerged. Foyt didn’t go to the hospital after the accident.
It took four hours and three wreckers to pull the bulldozer out of the lake about 40 miles northwest of Houston.
The accident came two years after Foyt was attacked by bees and stung nearly 200 times when he was using a bulldozer to clear land on another piece of property in August 2005.
That time, Foyt jumped off the bulldozer and started to run for a nearby stream, but he tripped and the bees swarmed onto him. He was stung dozens of times on the face before finally scrambling into the water. He refused to go the hospital.