Joyce McCardle describes her nephew as "a stellar husband, father, husband, son and nephew."

Pat Gaudet, 45, died early Saturday morning despite a 10-hour rescue effort to free him from the cab of his crashed semi truck.

The trucker had spent two days trapped in the cab of his tractor-trailer after it went over a steep embankment on Highway 3 near Manning Park on Tuesday.

"Our hearts are broken, to put it mildly. It was an up-and-down tragic ride from beginning to end. From the time we found out he was missing, until the time he was found alive ... and then we knew he wasn't going to make it," McCardle said.

semi truck crash manning park highway 3

Tow truck crews worked to stabilize the wreck so rescue crews could access the driver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

'Seasoned' driver

Doug Sutherland, vice president of the driver's company, Sutco Transportation Specialists, said Gaudet was a "seasoned" driver.

Sutherland said the trucker was on his way to the Lower Mainland to deliver wood chips when the accident happened.

Gaudet leaves behind a wife and two daughters: a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old.

He and his family had lived in Oliver, B.C. for about 10 years, although Gaudet was originally from Bedeque, Prince Edward Island.

McCardle said Gaudet's tight-knit hometown was hit hard by the news of the crash.

"They were following the story ... when the word started to spread that it was one of our own, people on P.E.I. were really in shock."

The RCMP and the province's Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Branch are investigating the crash.