Passersby save man’s life

Overturned car was sinking

Published on August 27, 2012

Faced with a scary situation earlier last week on the Burin Peninsula Highway, a group of men acted decisively and likely saved a life as a result.

Tuesday, Brian Critch was on his way to a construction job in Marystown with co-workers from Belfor Property Restoration when a man waving from the side of the road caught his attention at approximately 9:45 a.m.

Stopping on a stretch of highway between Swift Current and Terrenceville, Mr. Critch initially thought there had been a moose-vehicle accident. He then spotted an overturned vehicle sinking in boggy water alongside the road, its tires still spinning.

Inside the vehicle was a man.

“The car was filled up full of water. The guy was submerged in water.”

Assessing the situation, Mr. Critch gathered the best option to help the driver was to flip the car back onto its wheels. He called over his co-workers, and with help from others who had already pulled over, they got to work at righting the car.

The task required eight people.

“Adrenaline was rushing in for sure. If we hadn’t had turned the car when we did, or if we were there a couple of minutes later, he’d have been under the water and probably not able to get out.”

The rescue took a matter of minutes. They kicked out windows to help grip the vehicle as it was turned over.

“It was kind of rough, because as you were lifting, you were sinking into the bog, so with the bigger fellas we had there, and with the help of the other people who stopped, we got the car over.”

Mr. Critch indicated there were additional hazards for the rescuers as a result of the broken windows.

“There was glass digging into all of our hands, and despite that, you didn’t care. After we were done, we probably had more injury than they did, because as you’re lifting the car there, your hands are cut up.”

He said the driver – whose name he did not learn – was quite shaken following the rescue. He had suffered some scrapes and bruises as a result of the accident.

They managed to give him some dry clothing, and Mr. Critch said those involved in the rescue remained at the scene until an ambulance arrived.

“As he walked to the ambulance with the paramedics, he yelled out to the top of his lungs, ‘Thank you very much!’ to everybody.”

News of Tuesday’s heroics has spread, and Mr. Critch acknowledged several people have congratulated him and his co-workers for their efforts.

“As you’re sitting there thinking, you’re saying, ‘What if? What if you didn’t come along? What if (only) you and another person would’ve stopped, and not a big crowd?’ ... You’d have basically watched a guy helpless in the car.”

St. John’s Telegram