Duncan Moffat, 23, is recovering in hospital after being trapped inside a smashed truck near Sayward, a tiny northern Vancouver Island village.

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Duncan Moffat, a B.C. man who was rescued from a smashed pickup truck on Tuesday, would likely have died if a hunter hadn’t decided to spend a little bit more time in the bush.

The hunter, who requested anonymity for privacy reasons, told Black Press that he was ready to go home after three hours of unsuccessful deer hunting on Tuesday afternoon.

But he felt strangely compelled to continue hunting at another nearby spot, between the Salmon River and Hwy. 19 near Sayward, a northern Vancouver Island village with a population of about 300.

“I was cold, tired and hungry, and I wanted to go home,” he said. “But I just felt like I had to go there and hunt a bit more.”

He soon noticed a vehicle among the trees in the distance. An old wreck had been there for decades, he said, but this looked unusual.

“I put my binoculars on it from about 200 yards away,” he said. “I could see it was really beat up.”

As he approached the truck, he heard Moffat’s voice, at first thinking it was someone on the highway above.

READ MORE: Man survived for ‘days’ trapped in smashed truck north of Campbell River

“I noticed there was someone slumped over the steering wheel,” the man said. “He was completely still.”

But just as the hunter approached the truck, Moffat – who was pinned by the steering wheel – turned and said, “Hey!”

The shock of the encounter caused the hunter to “just about jump out of my skin,” he said.

Moffat was “upbeat and as polite as can be,” the hunter said. “He apologized for startling me.”

After talking to Moffat for a while, the man made his way to the highway and flagged down the first car that came along.

The driver went to call 911 – the Sayward area is almost completely without cellphone service – while the hunter stayed with Moffat. First responders soon arrived on the scene.

READ MORE: Driver charged after SUV smashes into building in Campbell River

Moffat told the hunter that he’d been there for only 45 minutes.

“I could tell right away that it was way longer than 45 minutes,” the hunter said.

The intense orange colour of an alder tree scraped by the vehicle was a telltale sign, he said.

“It had been scraped at least a day before,” said the man, who worked for over 40 years in the logging industry. “Alder turns a different colour.”

Moffat’s family members have said they believe he was stuck for five days. A police officer from the Sayward RCMP said it’s unclear how long he was down there.

The cabin of the smashed truck was also littered with 15-20 cores of apples that Moffat had apparently been eating while pinned inside the truck, the hunter said.

A box of apples seems to have spilled as the vehicle plummeted from the top of a steep embankment, about 12-15 metres above.

READ MORE: Police vehicle door torn off during stolen pickup takedown on the Island

The hunter said that although Moffat spoke clearly, he was obviously delirious.

“He was saying that his dad was on the other side of the truck,” the man said. “There was nobody there of course.”

The truck driven by Moffat almost collided with an old wreck that had been in that same spot in the woods for many years, according to the lifelong Sayward resident.

“Darn if he didn’t plow right into it,” the man said. “[He] came all the way off the highway and down the bank and hit this wreck that had been there for decades.”

The old wrecked vehicle was “just hanging off [Moffat’s] front bumper,” the man said. “So he wasn’t the first to go down there.”

The hunter declined credit for saving the young man’s life, attributing the chance encounter to God.

“I think God was sending me to him,” he said. “Normally I would’ve just gone home and sat by the fire and had a cup of coffee.”

Moffat’s mother, Lynn Macnab, conveyed her “profound gratitude” to the hunter in a text message to Black Press.

She said that Moffat is in stable condition despite several injuries, including a broken femur, bruised vertebrae and damage to his liver and spleen.

He’s now being treated in an intensive care unit for issues including a blood clot in his lung and nerve damage, she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tough year ahead for the aluminium industry

U.S. market is still Canada’s most important

Kitselas receive $1.2M boost for apprenticeship development program, open to Tsimshian and Haisla Nations

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education announces $7.5M for six Indigenous training programs

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into Northern Sentinel office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Indigenous LNG supporters chide human rights advocates over pipeline comments

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre path

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read