Man thought he would never be found

Camp­bell River man who was pinned in wreck­age of truck passed time in dream­like state

The Province - - NEWS - KATIE DEROSA

VIC­TO­RIA — Dun­can Mof­fat doesn’t re­mem­ber the mo­ment he lost con­trol of his gold Dodge Ram on High­way 19 south of Say­ward and plunged 12 me­tres down an em­bank­ment.

All he re­mem­bers is slip­ping in and out of con­scious­ness as he was pinned in the smashed-up pickup truck, too deep in the for­est to be seen from the road. As the hours turned into days, the 23-yearold Camp­bell River man wor­ried that no one would ever find him.

The truck’s horn wasn’t work­ing and there was no cell­phone cov­er­age in the area.

“I re­mem­ber I smashed a win­dow to try to make a bit of noise,” Mof­fat said, dressed in a hos­pi­tal gown and speak­ing from his hos­pi­tal bed at Vic­to­ria Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, where he’s re­cov­er­ing from a bro­ken fe­mur, a bro­ken shoul­der blade and bro­ken ribs. A red gash cuts into the stub­ble on Mof­fat’s left cheek and his right tooth is chipped in half.

Mof­fat be­lieves it was 5 or 6 p.m. on Nov. 8 when his truck went out of con­trol, as he was driv­ing to his fa­ther’s home in Camp­bell River.

The truck clipped a tree on the way down, push­ing the driver’s-side door into Mof­fat’s shoul­der.

Mof­fat was trapped for five days un­til Nov. 13, when a hunter spot­ted the truck.

Mof­fat sur­vived on three boxes of ap­ples that were in the back of the truck.

He used card­board from the ap­ple boxes to cre­ate a cush­ion be­tween the left side of his body and the smashed door. He also used the card­board to keep warm, as tem­per­a­tures were in the sin­gle dig­its at night.

On the day be­fore he was res­cued, he found a half-full bot­tle of Ga­torade that quenched his thirst.

“The last day and a half is when I re­al­ized where I was,” he said.

Mof­fat said he passed the time in a dream­like state, imag­in­ing fan­tas­ti­cal sce­nar­ios: “I was pretty much es­cap­ing the re­al­ity of what was hap­pen­ing.”

He re­mem­bers speak­ing from the wreck­age and star­tling the hunter, who re­sponded by ask­ing if Mof­fat needed help.

Mof­fat said yes. “I was co­her­ent but con­fused.”

The hunter, who does not want me­dia at­ten­tion, flagged down a pass­ing car in or­der to get some­one to call 911.

Mof­fat’s fa­ther, Glenn Mof­fat, saw the am­bu­lance race up the high­way and some­thing in his gut told him to fol­low it. When Glenn Mof­fat saw the man­gled truck, he feared the worst. He re­mem­bers ask­ing a Say­ward RCMP of­fi­cer whether his son was OK.

With tears in his eyes while stand­ing next to his son’s hos­pi­tal bed, Glenn Mof­fat said wait­ing to find out the an­swer “was the hard­est 15 sec­onds of my life.” When Glenn Mof­fat found out his son was awake and talk­ing, he drove to an area with cell re­cep­tion to tell fam­ily mem­bers that Dun­can had been found.

Dun­can Mof­fat re­mem­bers that the fire­fight­ers used hy­draulic cut­ters to tear away the driver’s side door.

He re­mem­bers feel­ing pain when be­ing lifted onto a stretcher, but mostly was over­come with re­lief that some­one had come to his res­cue.

When he is dis­charged from hos­pi­tal, he wants to meet the hunter, Mof­fat said.

VIC­TO­RIA TIMES COLONIST

Dun­can Mof­fatt is re­cov­er­ing at Vic­to­ria Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal. He spent five days trapped in his truck (on cell­phone) af­ter it flipped off the high­way.

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