A local couple with keen eyes in a big, jacked-up black pickup truck turned out to be the saving grace for a 68-year-old Fox Mountain resident trapped down a steep embankment last week.
“Our truck has a sight line most others don’t have,” Christiana Gauthier said, recalling the events of last Friday.
Christiana and her husband Naje, who’ve always had a big truck for four-by-fouring and backroading, were headed out for a drive in the afternoon in their truck when Naje first saw the wheels of an overturned vehicle down the embankment, and then had the wherewith-all to stop and investigate.
“We always keep an eye out around that bank because other people have gone over there and when we were driving my husband saw the wheels and said ‘hey, that wasn’t there yesterday’,” she said.
“We stopped and I got out and called out to see if anyone was down there and I heard this tiny little voice say ‘yes, I’m down here’.”
The victim, Lin Gillette, was a Fox Mountain resident headed home after a chiropractor appointment in town, when the accident occurred.
Christiana said Lin was in remarkable spirits considering she had been down the embankment for two hours suffering from a broken sternum and possibly lower back.
Lin had managed to free herself from the vehicle and crawl about 30 feet but couldn’t make it further up the steep bank.
Naje called 9-1-1 and Christiana, who has her level three First Aid and is a member of the Mount Polley mine rescue team where she works, rendered assistance until emergency crews arrived.
“She was quite calm for someone who just struggled her way out of an upside down car.”
Christiana said Lin told her she was looking up the bank for deer when she missed the turn in the road. The time was about 11:50 a.m. when Lin went over the bank, and Christiana and her husband found her at approximately 1:50 p.m.
Williams Lake emergency crews responded quickly to the call for help, with members of the Central Cariboo Search and Rescue and B.C. Ambulance Service on hand to assist as well as the RCMP and Williams Lake Fire Department.
Crews used ropes and executed a basket rescue to get the victim to safety.
“It was a quick response and everyone worked really well together.”
Other motorists passing by also stopped to help.
In a comment posted to the Williams Lake Tribune’s social media site, the injured motorist’s friend stated the victim would be in hospital for a few days recovering from her injuries.
“Thank you to the couple that stopped to check out the upside down car in the ditch, and offered assistance,” she posted, later giving the Tribune permission to use Lin’s name, after asking her friend first.
“She is doing well. She is a real trooper. [She’s] in good spirits and is just working on moving forward,” her friend said.
Christiana said they were glad to help and encourages others to pay attention on their travels and offer assistance when needed.
“I hope she’s doing well and that everything will be OK with her.”