RV begins tearing apart, sinks into septic tank


By Chuck Woodbury
We found this bizarre news item in issue #43 of RVtravel.com, published January 26, 2003. We figured most of you missed it. It’s just too good to not pass along again.

I wrote it. It reads:

An item in the news caught my attention last week, and I bet you will find it interesting. It was about an RVing couple who ended up destroying their RV in a most unique and bizarre way.

As Florida State Park volunteers Susan and Paul Brennan pulled their $180,000 motorhome into the park-provided campsite, something very strange happened. “I felt the ground tremble,” Susan told the Tallahassee Democrat. “You could hear the metal twisting. I told him (Paul) ‘Get out; you’re going to tip over.'” Soon, the RV’s windows and windshield cracked, the roof buckled and the rear axle and steel frame bent. “It sounded like the movie Titantic,” explained Susan.

Little could they have known that their campsite was directly over an unmarked septic tank! Apparently, its topside concrete slabs had failed, allowing the RV to literally sink into the last place on earth an RVer would ever expect to visit. A park service ranger later commented there was no evidence that any other RV had ever sunk into such a place, perhaps earning the Brennans a place in RV history as the only RVers to ever sink a recreational vehicle into a sewage system.

The (somewhat) happy ending to this story is that the state of Florida agreed to reimburse the Brennans for their RV, which was totaled.


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1 year ago

You should mention the lesson of this story for owners who park on grass on their own/friends’ private property — always know where the septic tanks and leech field are before rolling many tons over top of them.

Aside: Unmarked / abandoned tanks are a common nuisance, especially when selling real estate. One house I sold in VA, I was required by the state to dig up my backyard mostly at random until I FOUND an abandoned heating oil tank they insisted was “somewhere” in the yard. The guy I bought from didn’t have to prove the tank was gone to sell to ME, but the state was cracking down on these old hidden tanks. I have a metal detector and the knowledge to use a steel-probe instead of shovel, so found it without too much digging — only to find it had been properly cut open and filled solid. Sigh. But, I can imagine the trouble if someone suddenly fell into a rusty void while mowing the lawn…