Some local heroes came to the rescue and saved a man pinned upside down in his car in Goose Creek on Sunday afternoon.
Castlegar Search and Rescue member Barb Ihlen happened to be driving by the accident scene when she saw the flipped car and several people trying to help out the driver, who was trapped in his car in the water.
“We were returning home from the incident at Pass Creek with the lost snowmobiler when I noticed some people on the side of the snow bank in the creek,” said Ihlen. “When I looked into the creek there was an overturned truck. We, of course, called for help. There was a gentleman there that stayed and kept trying to get the man out. The (truck) door was wedged against a rock so they couldn’t open the driver door.”
Ihlen’s husband Gord, another Castlegar Search and Rescue volunteer and Passmore fire chief, arrived at the scene and they tried different ways to get into the truck.
“It took several minutes to get access to the subject,” she said. “They tried going through the back of the truck, through the canopy, tried to break other windows. But all those windows were under water.”
The driver was mostly submerged and had difficulty keeping his head out of the water, reports Ihlen.
“That was the risk,” she said. “I don’t know what degree of hypothermia he had, but it was on the severe side. If you can imagine being stuck in water. We don’t know how long he was there. They eventually found a jack and were able to pry that door open. He literally just had enough effort to lift himself out the door.”
Ihlen says her husband grabbed the subject by his belt and with the help of the other passerbies, helped him up the 20 foot snow bank.
“In my husband’s mind, he said five more minutes it would’ve been a body recovery,” she said. “He (the driver) was severely hypothermic.”
Nelson RCMP were on the scene and in their report stated, ‘the driver lost control due to the road conditions.’
The driver was taken to Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson with non-life threatening injuries.
Ihlen said the passerby who helped rescue the driver should be commended, but he ran off without leaving his name.
“It was pretty awe inspiring,” she said. “It took awhile for it to sink in what I saw and witnessed. Both of them, and we don’t want to toot our rescue crew, were very heroic to make the effort they did to rescue that man. Because there is no way he could have waited for the proper equipment. The gentlemen who assisted with the rescue left right away. He was cold and wet, so I’m sure he wanted to get dry. Nobody got his name. I think it’s a shame he doesn’t get recognized for what he did.”
If anyone can identify the heroic passerby please call Barb at the Passmore Fire Department at 250-226-7545.