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Cariboo resident hailed as hero for fiery rescue

Eagle Valley News

A Cariboo resident is being hailed as a hero after rescuing two occupants from a burning transportation truck after it crashed on the Trans-Canada highway between Revelstoke and Sicamous.

The occupants of a tractor-trailer were taken to hospital in Salmon Arm after their vehicle ended up in a ditch Sunday, Dec. 9.

The incident occurred at around 11:30 p.m. east of Sicamous on the Trans-Canada Highway near Enquist Road. Police say the driver of the westbound tractor-trailer unit lost control, crossed the centre lane, went across the road and into a ditch. There, the trailer end of the unit flipped up and landed on top of the tractor, which then caught fire.

The vehicle’s occupants were rescued by South Cariboo resident Ted Sawyer, who witnessed the accident from his rearview mirror.

“The truck was [sliding] sideways on the road with the tractor pointed across the oncoming lane … and it flipped, and then flipped up in the air again, and then it burst into flames,” Sawyer explained.

Sawyer says he braked and turned around as quickly as possible and headed for the accident scene.

“I wasn’t worrying about my car too much, but I was worrying about [the truck] maybe blowing, so I kept the car between me and it to have a look, and I saw where the outline of the rig was.

Sawyer decided to jump down the steep bank, and eventually found the driver with a broken arm, his door pinned to the ground as flames grew around the passenger-side door. He wound up breaking open the windshield with his feet, and helped extract the two occupants.

“I’m awfully glad that I managed to get them out, because God, that would have been horrible, and absolutely horrifying for them,” said Sawyer. “We didn’t have two or three or five minutes when I got them out of there. There were fuel lines and all kinds of things exploding and going wild.”

The incident remains under investigation.

With files from the 100 Mile House Free Press.

 

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