A Campbell River man believed to have survived several days in his smashed-up truck after it rolled down an embankment near Sayward is recovering in hospital.
Duncan Moffat was dehydrated, cold and disoriented and had a broken femur when he was found Tuesday in his gold Dodge Ram, which had plunged 12 to 15 metres down an embankment off Highway 19.
A hunter saw the truck nestled in the trees about 10 kilometres south of Sayward, said Sayward RCMP Cpl. Kim Graham.
With no cellphone service in the area, the hunter flagged down a vehicle and the driver went to a spot where 911 could be called. Police and paramedics arrived on scene just after 1:50 p.m.
Firefighters used hydraulic cutters to pry open the truck and free Moffat from the vehicle.
The truck was on its wheels but likely flipped on the way down, Graham said.
Moffat was reported missing on Nov. 7, three days after he left his father’s home in Campbell River.
Moffat’s father, Glen, saw the ambulance heading toward the scene and something told him to follow it, said Moffat’s uncle, Bill McNab.
Glen saw the gold truck and watched from the road as his son was rescued and hauled up the steep embankment on a stretcher. He called family members to let them know that Moffat was alive.
“My sister was crying with joy,” said McNab, whose sister Lynn is Moffat’s mother.
McNab said he sends his sincere gratitude to the hunter and to the first responders who worked tirelessly to rescue his nephew.
“You can never thank them enough, they’re selfless people,” he said.
Moffat couldn’t tell first responders how long he had been in the vehicle or how he lost control, but he later told family he believed he was in the truck for five days, Graham said.
Moffat told his family he found some Gatorade and a bag of apples in the truck, which kept him hydrated as he waited for someone to come.
McNab said he can’t imagine Moffat’s torment as he waited for help.
“On the fourth and fifth day, he must have had some horrific thoughts,” he said.
Moffat was flown to Victoria General Hospital with serious injuries.
He was scheduled to undergo surgery on his leg Wednesday, McNab said, and also has internal injuries that doctors are closely monitoring.
“The fact we found him alive was such a relief,” McNab said.
“He’s gotten a second chance at life.”