A logging truck driver is fortunate to be alive after he was pulled from the wreck of his vehicle west of Shawnigan Lake and airlifted to hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
Hauling a loaded trailer, the truck left a logging road and careened down a hill, ending up in a creek. Bystanders were able to remove the driver from the wreck before emergency personnel reached the scene.
“Boy, was that guy lucky,” Shawnigan Lake fire chief Keith Shields said. “It was unbelievable, the damage.”
The incident happened around 2:30 p.m., about seven kilometres west of Shawnigan Lake off Renfrew Road. According to Sgt. Scott Stephen of the Shawnigan Lake RCMP, the likely cause was a mechanical failure.
“A logging truck and loaded trailer were travelling east on the road down Kapoor Hill when an apparent loss of brakes resulted in the driver and lone occupant of the truck going off the road to the left,” Sgt. Scott Stephen related. “The vehicle crashed violently through dense forest before coming to a rest upside down in a small creek.”
The 51-year-old driver was examined at the scene, then transported several kilometres before being airlifted to Victoria for further medical attention. Despite suffering several injuries, he was conscious and responsive, Stephen said.
Shields learned more about the injuries on Wednesday morning.
“According to a couple of guys that I talked to, all he had was a couple of broken ribs, facial lacerations, and a couple of vertebrae,” he said. “Someone was definitely on his side.”
Along with RCMP and BC Ambulance, Shields and a fellow firefighter responded to the incident, even though the location was outside of the Shawnigan Lake fire jurisdiction.
“All we did was assist BC Ambulance,” he related. “Someone else had him pulled out and on the other side of the creek.”
Diesel and motor oil from the truck spilled into the creek, but measures were taken to address the spillage shortly after the crash and the Ministry of the Environment had been dispatched with to clean up the mess.
“They said they showed up yesterday afternoon and finished it off,” Shields said.