Truck driver who spent two days trapped in crashed rig has died, family confirms

Truck driver trapped for two days has died

The British Columbia truck driver who died after he was trapped in his overturned truck last week was a devoted family man who was never idle, his family said.

Pat Gaudet died early Saturday morning, his aunt Joyce McCardle confirmed Sunday during an interview from her Summerside, P.E.I. home.

Gaudet, 45, was a P.E.I. native who lived with his family in Oliver, B.C., a small town in the Okanagan Valley that calls itself the “wine capital of Canada.” McCardle said her nephew loved making wine and was trained as a sommelier, but took up truck driving because it offered more job opportunities.

He was a “wonderful family man” who was devoted to his wife and two daughters, McCardle said. When he had time off work, he and his family took frequent camping trips.

“He was a fixer-upper,” McCardle said. “He would work on his back deck. He would build things. He wasn’t ever idle.” 

“My children will miss him tremendously.”

The crash happened Tuesday on Highway 3 in the area of Rhododendron Flats in Manning Park, about 36 kilometres east of Hope, B.C.  An air and ground search was launched and the truck was found turned over on the side of the highway Thursday morning.

First responders cut apart the cab to pull Gaudet out of the rig. Steel cables stretching from tow trucks parked on the roadway above required constant retensioning to prevent the rig from slipping further down a steep embankment. The operation took the Chilliwack Search and Rescue Team nearly 12 hours.

“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,” volunteer Doug Fraser told The Canadian Press on Friday.

Gaudet, who had turned 45 last month, was in critical condition when he was taken to a hospital Thursday evening. RCMP had not identified the driver.

Maija Kappler, The Canadian Press

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