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Wreckhouse winds cause transport truck turnover

Winds in the Wreckhouse are known for their severity during inclement weather. – File photo, Wreckhouse Press

WRECKHOUSE —After two days of sun and milder temperatures, Sheila’s Brush finally appeared, bringing strong winds, white-out conditions, and snow-covered roads.

As a result of the high winds, the Port aux Basques Volunteer Fire Department (PABVFD), the Codroy Valley Volunteer Fire Department (CVVFD), Port aux Basques RCMP and Mackenzie Ambulance Service responded to a call yesterday evening, March 15, in the Wreckhouse area where a transport truck had blown over.

Jerry Musseau, PAB Fire Chief, said the call came in around 7:30 p.m. and eight volunteer firefighters with his department arrived shortly before 8:00 p.m.

“When we arrived on scene, there was a tractor-trailer over on its side in the ditch, completely off the highway. The driver was out of the vehicle, but a passenger who he had in the truck, in the bunk area of the truck, was still inside and he was trapped,” said Musseau. “We used the jaws of life along with other equipment to work on the situation and free it all up. We had to do some cutting, some peeling, and remove some debris from the bunk area because there was a lot of stuff there.”

Musseau said there were working on the extraction for some time.

“We were about two, two and a half hours working on debris in the vehicle, clearing the debris and finally, at the end of it, we had to call the assistance of C&C Towing to give us a hand, to try to lift the truck, to get the guy free because of the way he was pinned in the truck,” said Musseau.

“It was close to 11:00 p.m. by the time we got the individual out. It was a very complicated process to get him out, the way he was trapped inside,” said CVVFD Fire Chief Brian Osmond.

It took approximately a half hour for CVVFD to arrive on scene, and when they arrived, PABVFD was already attempting to remove the passenger. In total, Osmond estimates there were 20 firefighters who responded from the two departments.

“They were working on trying to get the individual out and the winds were, I’m guessing 120 plus at the time. The ability to stand up was nil at the time, and I know when I stepped out of our vehicle, I went across the road and went down over the embankment right away. It catches everybody by surprise when you first get out there,” said Osmond. “Then we had to work to get toward the vehicle, the tractor-trailer turned over, I came from the back end of it but I stayed down off the road, down in the embankment, because there was less wind down there to impede any movements.”

The RCMP released the following information.

“Last night at approximately 7:15 pm, Channel-Port aux Basques RCMP responded to a crash involving a transport truck on the TCH in the Wreckhouse area due to extremely high winds. Police arrived on the scene at 7:30 p.m. The truck had departed the TCH and went over an embankment. The driver escaped the vehicle. A male passenger was trapped inside the cab.

Firefighters from Codroy Valley and Port aux Basques attended the scene. Following assessment of how best to reach the passenger, heavy equipment was used to cut a hole in the cab of the truck.

The passenger was trapped inside the vehicle for approximately three hours before being extracted and transported for treatment of serious injuries to the Dr. Charles L. LeGrow Health Centre in Port aux Basques by MacKenzie Ambulance Service.”

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