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Parker’s Trail exclusive: Parker goes crabbing in a dangerous move to save a stuck backhoe

Parker is focused like a laser beam on this Herculean task. Pic credit: Discovery
Parker is focused like a laser beam on this Herculean task. Pic credit: Discovery

On the upcoming Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail, we see where the years of mining experience and working big machinery will pay off for the series star Parker Schnabel.

Parker is in Papua, New Guinea and has found himself mired in the muck with a several ton backhoe and he needs to extricate it without tipping over or digging it deeper into the bottomless mud.

There’s also the chance of cracking the chassis in half with metal fatigue and strain as he tries a technique referred to as “crabbing” to use the very front end excavator bit of the loader and the back end in a back and forth crab-like walk to lift it up and move it slowly in a direction towards solid ground.

A crowd has gathered to see if Parker can do this feat
A crowd has gathered to see if Parker unstick the backhoe. Pic credit: Discovery

A crowd of locals and villagers has gathered to watch this feat of derring-do as Karla Ann, Sam Brown and Special Forces Medic Fred Lewis are guiding Parker as he makes a dangerous bet on himself to get this piece if expensive equipment out of the dirt and back into the game.

There’s a lot of gold at stake the cost is high if this machine is lost to the soft mud or if it cracks in half.

In our exclusive clip, you see Parker going sideways by anchoring the huge machine’s excavator arm into the ground to lift the cab sideways and as he sets it down, he’ll repeat the same action with his loader bucket to get leverage and movement going to lift it up and out, hopefully.

The unusual process is known as crabbing and one wrong move or miscalculation of the machine’s center of gravity will cause a calamity when lifting the cab as it can tip over the machine.  And every time he tries to go forward it could possibly just dig it deeper into the soft almost liquid-like soil.

Parker knows what he is doing and understands the physics of this challenge.

And he’s figured out that he can flip the whole thing off the ground from the front to the back.

Fred Lewis says:  “I think that’s the only way it’s going to get out!”

He adds: “I can only think of one move left which is to crab walk myself around in a 180 [degrees]”

A crowd has gathered to watch this technically advanced maneuver which is pushing Parker’s skills to their limits and showing viewers and the crowd how thinking through what appears to be an insurmountable problem can really save the day and a lot of money in expenses, overhead and saves headaches to boot.

Lewis adds: “Hey look at that… three feet off the ground… ”

Parker is so close and says: “Come on!”

Karla Ann is nervous and says: “[We are] so close.”

All Parker has to do is bring that machine to a nearby bank of solid earth and then they are in the clear.

His photographer Sam Brown says: “He’s literally dragging the backhoe a**-backwards the last ten feet towards the pit.”

And…he makes it to the applause of everyone watching this spectacle.

Make sure to tune in tonight to see how the team scores in the gold department and what other problems may be waiting for Schnabel and his crew to think their way around.

Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail airs Fridays at 9/8c on Discovery.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
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