Treacherous conditions from snow-covered roads created tense moments for Nanaimo motorists who found themselves in precarious situations last night.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters responded to a pair of challenging single-vehicle crashes over the course of the night Tuesday, Jan. 31.
The first call came in at about 7:30 p.m. after a full-size pickup truck failed to negotiate a curve on Nanaimo Lakes Road about one kilometre south of the Harewood Mines Road intersection, just outside city limits.
Stu Kenning, Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief, said fire crews were called by B.C. Ambulance Service for assistance when they discovered the vehicle had gone about 30 metres down a steep embankment and the driver was trapped in the vehicle.
“It was a full-size one-ton truck over the edge. We had two crews on scene and a rescue truck and we used the Jaws of Life to free the driver,” he said.
Kenning said the roads and terrain were slippery from the snow, so a rope rescue team was used to reach the truck, extricate the driver and bring him back up the bank to the ambulance.
“The vehicle was on its side at the bottom of the hill and he was in the vehicle, trapped between a tree and the vehicle … and so we used the jaws to push the cab off the tree and get the cab opened up enough to get him [out],” the assistant chief said.
The driver was taken by ambulance to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
‘He had, actually I believe, minor injuries … he is a lucky man,” Kenning said, adding that there have previously been fatal crashes on that stretch of road.
Later on Tuesday night, at about 11:30 p.m., two people in a crossover utility vehicle found themselves on the edge of an embankment in the 4900 block of Laguna Way.
“[The vehicle] had slipped off a driveway and was sort of teetering on the top of a very steep bank, about a 15-metre bank,” Kenning said.
Firefighters secured the vehicle with ropes to prevent it from sliding any farther and then helped the vehicle’s occupants to get out safely. No one was injured.
“[The vehicle] was teetering at the top of the bank and they didn’t want to get out,” the assistant chief said. “So, they just stayed in there and we secured the vehicle so it wouldn’t slide anymore … and then we waited for towing to come and help move it permanently.”
According to City of Nanaimo data, Nanaimo firefighters responded to five car crashes on Tuesday following the previous night’s snowfall.