Truck driver survives crash, fall down 30-metre embankment on Coquihalla

The driver of a semi-truck is in hospital after a crash and 30-metre slide down an embankment on the Coquihalla Highway, narrowly missing a river.

It took rescue crews two hours to perform a dramatic rope rescue and extricate the driver, who was trapped in the cab of his truck in some trees.

Agassiz deputy fire chief Gerald Basten says it appears the trees may have stopped the cab from sailing down further into the icy river, adding “the man is very lucky to be alive.”

Basten says the fire department, as well as and search and rescue crews from Chilliwack and Hope, were called out shortly after midnight Monday to a three-vehicle collision on Highway 5 near the Portia Overpass.

He says the crash involved three semi-trucks. The first one jack knifed, and the second truck couldn’t stop, and smashed into the first. The third semi ploughed into the second, separating the cab from the trailer.

The cab went over the embankment, and fell up to 30-metres down the slope. Basten says crews used rope, pry bars and tools to free the man. It took about two hours in sub-zero temperatures.

Basten did not know whether the driver was prepared for the winter weather, and he did not know his condition when he was taken to hospital by ambulance.

None of the other drivers in the collision were harmed.


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