PEREAU, NS - The driver of a tractor-trailer spent more than three hours pinned in the cab of his rig after it crashed near Canning on July 4.
Canning firefighters, RCMP and paramedics were called to the crash on Pereau Road shortly before 4:30 p.m. after the truck left the road, slid along a ditch, crashed through a large tree and collided with a pole.
Canning deputy fire chief Jeff Skaling said the operation was challenging.
“The damage to the tractor-trailer was significant,” he said. “It was a heavy truck and everything was reinforced and stronger, and it was rolled on its side in the ditch driver-side down. There was a lot of damage. Everything was collapsed inward, basically.”
The Kentville fire department was called for additional rescue tools, but it was 7:15 p.m. before the driver was fully cut free from the mangled cab.
He was airlifted from the scene to hospital in Halifax. There was no immediate update on his condition.
“We used all the tools (from both departments). We cut the roof away, we cut the back of the cab away. It was a just trying to open up inches to free the patient,” Skaling said.
“There was significant intrusions into the cab space from the front and rear with the dash, the driver’s side door wall and the rear wall structure of the tractor.”
A tow truck was used to help stabilize the vehicle during the rescue operation.
The transport truck was carrying produce. A small fire that started under the chassis of the cab was extinguished by passersby with fire extinguisher.
“It would have been a bad spot if it spread, it was a good job by the passersby to knock that down quickly,” Skaling said.
He said the extrication is the longest he’s ever been involved with by far.
“The crews were working the whole three hours, cutting and prying, literally using their hands to pull out pieces of material to try to get the space to free the patient.”
Firefighters were working in temperatures above 30 C and high humidity throughout the operation.
“The heat was causing some problems and challenges,” Skaling said.
“We went through a lot of water trying to keep the crew hydrated, and we rotated them in and out a little bit. The extreme heat cooked the truck-mounted motor for our rescue tools.”
RCMP are still investigating the crash.