First responders extract a man from his vehicle after it left Highway 19 and rolled down an embankment near the Little Qualicum River Tuesday afternoon, May 23, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

VIDEO: Bowser man hospitalized after Highway 19 crash

Car rolls 200 feet down embankment near Qualicum Beach

A 25-year-old Bowser man was “very lucky” to be sent to hospital after the SUV he was driving left Highway 19 just before the Little Qualicum River Bridge and rolled more than 200 feet down an embankment before coming to rest on its roof Tuesday afternoon.

Qualicum Beach Fire Department was called at 12:40 p.m. May 23 and was eventually joined at the scene by the Coombs-Hilliers Volunteer Fire Department, Oceanside RCMP and BC Ambulance Service.

Story continues below

“I talked to a witness, a fellow on a motorcycle who witnessed it,” said Qualicum Beach Fire Department chief Darryl Kohse. “He pointed to the south side of the bridge and said the car launched off the bridge. It was a gradual slope, but apparently the vehicle rolled multiple times before coming to a stop on its roof.”

The driver was travelling southbound to Victoria, said Kohse. Southbound traffic was halted for about 40 minutes, RCMP added, before single-lane traffic was restored as the man was extracted from the 1996 GMC Yukon.

Kohse said the extraction required peeling open the entire driver’s side of the vehicle, and was made more difficult by the long hike down to the crash site.

“We’ve got equipment that we can run with our trucks,” said Kohse. “But because of the location of the vehicle, we had to work with our portable gear. There was a lot of hiking up and down the hill.”

Police said Tuesday afternoon the accident remains under investigation, though alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor. RCMP said they driver was the lone occupant of the SUV, and no other vehicles were involved.

At one point a helicopter hovered over the scene, but the man was not medivaced to hospital. Instead, first responders hiked him back up the hill in a stretcher. He was loaded into an ambulance and, Kohse said, taken to Qualicum Beach Airport to be flown to hospital in either Vancouver or Victoria.

“I think he has a broken shoulder, and some kind of back injury,” Kohse said.

The driver remained conscious throughout the extraction, though RCMP said he was “in significant discomfort.”

“You always have a concern when you come upon a scene like this,” Kohse said. “He was very lucky, very fortunate to be in the condition he’s in. He was coherent, he knew what day it was, he could talk to us and knew where his injuries were. But he was very, very lucky.”

The man was wearing his seat belt, Kohse added.

“I know, because I cut it off.”

The driver may also have been fortunate due to the quick response by the firefighters. Kohse said some members of the department were at the firehall having a lunch when the call came in.

“We were out the door pretty quickly,” he said.

Initially, Kohse said, firefighters were unsure where the vehicle was located. The crash scene could not be seen from the highway unless an observer walked right to the concrete barrier and looked straight down.

“We called in the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department,” he said. “There’s another road access to the bottom of the bridge from the Coombs side, and we asked them to come that way at first. But once we determined where the vehicle was, we determined we needed them probably up here to assist with manpower.”

Just Posted

Workers evacuated due to gas smell in Parksville

Firefighters, Fortis unable to find source, and workers back to work

Qualicum Beach makes list of top places to visit in 2018

Expedia Canada surveyed 1,000 Canadians for the list

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

UPDATE: Power restored to most of Parksville Qualicum Beach

Earlier windstorm resulted in nearly 4,000 customers without power Wednesday morning

Lifestyle change key to keeping off pounds

Pharmasave Parksville aids UBC clinical study helping sufferers of Type 2 diabetes

Toronto man charged in double homicide

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Comox cannabis lab takes step forward towards reality

A former Comox Valley resident and current adjunct botany professor at UBC… Continue reading

Carpet bowlers have been excluded from BC 55+ Games and Canada 55+ Games

Gold medal carpet bowling winners not able to defend their titles in 2018

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries’ enacts smoking ban

Fines and extra patrols not happening at this time as ban begins Monday

Police to provide update on unsolved 13-year-old B.C. girl’s murder

IHIT say no one has been arrested or charged in connection with Marrisa Shen’s death

Rural B.C. students score visit with Canadiens netminder Carey Price

Two students from the Caiboo Chilcotin can hardly wait to meet hometown hero Carey Price in Montreal.

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

VIDEO: Elk parade on Vancouver Island is awesome sight

They’re out in force for a morning stroll. Check out some of Youbou’s famous elk.

Most Read