Spanish Mountain Gold camp caretaker Elaine Lucas said the trucker who survived a crash off the Spanish Lake Road Wednesday morning is very lucky to be alive.
“I think he had a Guardian Angel on his side because it sure could have been a lot worse,” Lucas said Thursday.
Lucas, who keeps an eye and ear out for truckers hauling along the road where she works as a caretaker, was one of the first on scene after the loaded logging truck slid off the Spanish Lake Road at Keithley Creek Road near Likely, cutting a swath through snow and trees as it plunged down a more than 70-foot embankment.
Initially out looking for the cause of the power going out just after 8 a.m., Lucas was shocked by what she discovered.
“I came around the corner and I thought, oh my God, someone went over the bank.”
Road conditions at the time were icy, while the road in that area is steep.
Lucas pulled over to a safe spot out of the way and called out.
“The road was so slippery you could hardly stand on it,” she said, noting the truck was barely recognizable tangled in logs and trees.
“I thought, my God, if this guy’s alive, he’s going to be badly hurt. I was ready to call search and rescue.”
Expecting the worst, Lucas was relieved to see the driver, who managed to get out of the wreckage on his own, walking down the road.
“I made him get in the truck. He was still visibly shaken, you could tell.”
Lucas said she stayed with the truck driver for 15 minutes or so before he caught a ride to town with another trucker.
“He said he just started to slide and that was it. He must have been scared half to death.”
Except for a sore elbow, the driver, who she only knows as Dave from Williams Lake, was OK, although she believes he will feel more of the impacts of the crash in the days to follow.
“When something like that happens, you’re hanging on to that steering wheel for dear life, so you’re going to be sore.”
Lucas, who has her Level 3 First Aid, said she always keeps the gate open at the Spanish Mountain Gold camp should loggers ever break down or have any issues, they can come in.
“I always watch for them, listen for them,” she said.
“They have a really tough job. There are lots of hazards in what they do. The hours they work are unbelievable. They work hard to earn their money.”
More than 35 homes lost power as a result of the incident when trees that were hit by the truck fell onto nearby power lines.
BC Hydro restored power to the area immediately following the incident and Interior Roads was also on scene sanding the road.
Lucas said the road was being kept in good shape, but that it had snowed early in the morning Wednesday creating the slick conditions.
She noted the deep snow this year has made it more difficult to work in the forests east of Williams Lake.