Two thin trees were the only things preventing a red 2000 Pontiac Sunfire and it's three occupants from falling into the Panther Creek after the driver hit a stretch of ice while traveling east on SR209, lost control and crashed into the sloped woods between Tamaqua and Coaldale just before midnight Sunday.

Tamaqua firefighters secured the car to their fire truck with a tow chain while members of the Tamaqua Rescue Squad used hydraulic rescue equipment to cut the door off of the car. After securing the victims to basket stretchers, firefighters made a long chain up the steep hill to pull and lift the victims to awaiting ambulances.

Injured in the accident were the driver, Stacey Band, 27, of Lansford, and front passenger, Tammy Band, 53, of Lansford. A rear passenger, Heather Hoppes, 24, also of Lansford, suffered minor injuries and refused treatment.

The two other victims were transported to St. Luke's Miners Hospital in Coaldale.

Responding were Tamaqua Police, East End Fire Company, American Hose Company, Tamaqua Ambulance and Lansford Ambulance. Tamaqua Fire Police closed that section of SR209 during the rescue and until PennDOT could arrive to lay salt down.

Even though last night's quick snow squall resulted in less than an inch of accumulation, numerous accidents and fender benders last night were attributed to icy road conditions. Workers from PennDOT and local municipalities were also laying salt on roadways.