Nfld. & Labrador

Driver spends 24 hours in cab of his truck while stranded on Burin highway

Matthew Woodland at least had Netflix to keep him entertained.

Matthew Woodland had Netflix for entertainment, while blowing snow hindered traffic

Transport truck driver Matthew Woodland has been stranded on Route 210 on the Burin Peninsula since 4 p.m. Monday, after blowing snow caused a group of vehicles ahead of him to stop moving. (Submitted)

A group of vehicles that were stranded on Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula for nearly 24 hours finally started moving again late Tuesday afternoon, as crews plowed through snow drifts as high as 12 feet.

Matthew Woodland of Fortune was driving a transport truck from Marystown, on his way to St. John's to pick up a load of fuel, when he had to stop about 10 kilometres north of the Terrenceville intersection around 4 p.m. Monday.

"The road was fine until you got to Terrenceville and after that it just turned white and I came upon a cluster of cars that were stuck," he said.

Snow drifts as high as 12 feet had formed around Woodland's transport truck by Tuesday morning, making it impossible for him to move any further on Route 210. (Submitted)

By around 4 p.m. Tuesday, Woodland told CBC's On The Go that snowclearing crews were slowly starting to escort drivers off the highway.

Woodland couldn't see exactly how many vehicles were in front of him, but there were at least two other transport trucks and a few cars.

Snow drifts are seen on the road behind Woodland's transport truck on the Burin highway. The driver told CBC a cluster of vehicles are also stuck ahead of him. (Submitted)

From the time he got stuck Monday to Tuesday, he was only able to move his truck a few dozen feet along the road. With blowing snow coming from a nearby drift about 40 feet high, his truck was gradually getting buried from all sides.

"I have a drift there almost as high as the truck on the side," he said. "I have a 10-foot one on the back and a 12-foot one on the front."

Long night

After several hours of worsening conditions, Woodland knew he would be spending the night on Route 210 — only the second time in his career he's been stuck in his truck overnight.

As he was being interviewed by CBC at 11:15 Tuesday morning, Woodland said a front end loader arrived to begin digging his truck and the other vehicles out of the drifts that had formed around them. (Submitted)

Luckily, he had enough fuel to keep the truck warm and his phone charged, and even had the foresight to pack a day's supply of food and some movies downloaded from Netflix.

"I have lots of fuel but I'm not sure about everybody else though" he said. "People in the cars are a lot worse off than I am."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geoff Bartlett

Contributor

Geoff Bartlett is an educator and journalist in Corner Brook.

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