A Vancouver Island police officer came to the rescue of a man who’d swerved and went down a 100 metre embankment last week.
Ian Craib was making his way past the Hannah Creek corner 14 km from Rossland on Highway 3B on a road bike, when he heard cries for help from the valley below.
“ I was thinking that it could be a mountain biker when I heard somebody calling,” said Craib. He and a friend had been mountain biking the day before in the same area.
“When I did hear him, I slowed down and looked and when I saw the yaw marks (skid marks) and sort of the launch point, you could see the truck had gone off, it was at the midpoint of the curve,”he said. “You couldn’t miss the skid marks, it was right there.”
He heard the man, an 86 year old Greenwood resident, yelling from below.
“I tried to talk to him, but the man just kept yelling “help, help, help,” he said.
He couldn’t see anything at first. He put his bike down and after walking around, he saw the roof of the truck. He called to the man, finally getting voice contact.
Craib flagged down the next cars that drove by.
The second car, a physician out of Chilliwack, immediately headed closer to Rossland, and cell reception range, to make the call to 911.
With help now on the way, Craib descended down the 100 metre embankment to check on the victim.
“When I got down there he was kind of in and out,” he remembered. “The truck was completely collapsed on the roof and he had somehow managed to pull himself out through the window onto the front of the truck. He was lying there in a really bad position, with stuff (branches and twigs) sticking into him.”
The man was covered in lacerations, as well as blood and dirt. Within 10 minutes, the doctor made his way down and the two of them comforted the man until the ambulance got there.
The elderly man was lucky to be alive, as the possibility of no one noticing was there.
“He was in a position, from what I could see, where if he had gone unconscious, nobody would have heard him and he could’ve been down there for a while,” he explained. “He was a pretty strong man to have climbed out (of the truck) at 86.”
Craib was relieved to find, upon his return to Vancouver Island, that the man was released from hospital soon after. Craib, who works for a municipal department in Vancouver Island, plans to move to Rossland in the future.
Trail and Greater District RCMP said that the man had swerved to avoid hitting a deer and in the process ended up losing control and going off the road.
The driver’s name hasn’t been released, because of an ongoing ICBC investigation.
Highway 3B had to be closed for part of the day Thursday.