HOPE, B.C. â€” A truck driver trapped for more than two days in an overturned rig on the side of a British Columbia highway is in hospital after what one emergency worker is describing as the longest rescue operation his organization has ever been involved in.
Doug Fraser of the Chilliwack Search and Rescue Team described how first responders spent nearly 12 hours cutting apart the cab of an overturned semi-truck to extract the driver, who hasn’t been named and was reported missing Wednesday morning.
The crash happened on Highway 3 in the area of Rhododendron Flats in Manning Park, about 36 kilometres east of Hope.
Steel cables stretching from tow trucks parked on the roadway above required constant retensioning to prevent the trailers from slipping further down a steep embankment.
“It was a long slow process,” said Fraser, who has volunteered with Chilliwack Search and Rescue for 20 years.
“Every time a piece of the cab was cut away, the cables from the tow trucks would need to be retensioned in order to stabilize things to keep the driver safe and the emergency crews who were working down below.”
RCMP Const. Melissa Wutke said the driver was last seen around 11 p.m. on Tuesday. An air and ground search was launched and police say the fully loaded semi-trailer was spotted early Thursday.
The man suffered potentially life-threatening injuries and the cause of crash remains under investigation, Wutke said.
“This was a very challenging rescue operation and the RCMP wishes to express its appreciation for all those who participated to help extricate the driver and bring him to safety,” she added.
Fraser said the injured man was plucked from his truck and hauled up using ropes to a waiting ambulance.
“It’s tremendously rewarding for all involved,” Fraser said. “If you’re part of saving a life, it’s pretty tough to top that.”
The Canadian Press