Salmo RCMP say the fast action of two people helped save a man’s life on Highway 3 near the Bombi summit. Fruitvale’s David Hildahl was driving with his family on Saturday evening when he saw a vehicle sliding upside down.
Hildahl and his daughter’s boyfriend Brandon Hawthorn got out to help while Hildahl’s wife drove down the hill to call 911.
“It was pretty intense,” said Hildahl. “Instincts kicked it.”
They pried open a jammed door to find a man wedged down and pinned by his seat belt. “Gasoline was dripping into the vehicle,” he said. “The first concern was getting him out, then deal with his injuries.”
Hildahal raced up the road yelling for a knife as other vehicles came to a stop. By chance his cousin Brett Molnar had a knife. They quickly cut him out and with more people helping, they moved the man to the roadside. Hildahl estimated it was mere moments later that the vehicle became a “fire ball”.
The man’s arm was bleeding heavily so Hawthorn used his shirt to slow the blood flow. A woman, who turned out to be a nurse, then used a belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
Hildahl said he has been previously certified with Occupational First Aid level 3 as well as trained in mine rescue. He added he does not recommend that anyone attempt to do what he did without some sort of risk and emergency response training.
In a written statement, RCMP said the driver may have been having diabetic issues and paramedics tended to him at the scene and brought him to hospital.
Hildahl was happily surprised to see the man walking in Trail on Wednesday. “I couldn’t believe it. I told him ‘It’s incredible to see you walking around’.”