British Columbia

Firefighter happens upon injured driver stranded 16 hours after crash

An off-duty B.C. volunteer firefighter out for a walk with his wife and dog is being credited with saving the life of a man trapped beside his car for 16 hours after a crash.

Volunteer with the Anarchist Mountain Fire Department out for a walk when he stumbled on crash scene

The driver of the car said he'd crashed at about 8 p.m. the previous evening. (Anarchist Mountain Fire Department/www.amfd.org)

An off-duty volunteer B.C. firefighter out for a walk with his wife and dog is being credited with saving the life of a man trapped beside his car for 16 hours after a crash.

Stefan Beckmann was walking on Blacktail Road east of Osoyoos just before noon on Sunday when his dog took off running toward Highway 3. He yelled at the animal to stop and come back.

"I think my yelling for the dog woke up the person who was driving that car and he began to yell for help," Beckmann told CBC News.

At first, it sounded a bit like the bleating of a goat, and Beckmann couldn't see where the sound was coming from.

"Initially we weren't quite clear what the sound was, and then it became rapidly obviously that it was the word 'help' that he was yelling."

He and his wife, Suzie, followed a ravine and walked toward the sound until Suzie saw a flash of red through the scrub. They moved a little closer and saw it was a red car lying on its roof, with the wheels sticking into the air.

The driver was trapped between his car and heavy brush nearby. (Anarchist Mountain Fire Department/www.amfd.org)

"The driver was lying next to it. He was trapped between the vehicle and some really heavy brush," Beckmann said.

The man said he was alone, and that he'd crashed his car at 8 p.m. the night before — about 16 hours earlier. He thought he might have dozed off while driving down the highway.

Beckmann, a volunteer with the Anarchist Mountain Fire Department, used his radio to call for help.

"The response was really quick. I think within two or three minutes I had several firefighters helping me remove the brush so we could better access the patient," he said.

Beckmann called for help using his radio. (Anarchist Mountain Fire Department/www.amfd.org)

The driver was taken to hospital for treatment of a number of injuries, according to the fire department.

"It's exciting that we were able to help him out," Beckmann said. "It's just almost mind-boggling that we were lucky enough to come across him in time, before things were worse for him."

With files from Tamara Rahmani

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