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

Port Alberni café, pair of teens rally support for Australia bush fire relief

Boomerangs Café plans three-day fundraiser; teens prepare to help in wildlife recovery

Agricultural Land Commission approves cannabis facility in Beaver Creek

Proposed facility outside Port Alberni had been caught up in ALR red tape

Alberni writer and poet to read at Words on Fire

Chelsea Comeau has her own freelance writing and editing business

North Island College hosting nursing info session

Info sessions will take place Monday, Jan. 27 at Port Alberni and Campbell River campuses

Photographer captures Port Alberni personalities in black and white portraits

Meet John Douglas, Courtney Naesgaard in double exhibit Jan. 18 at Rollin Art Centre

Prince Harry reunites with Meghan and Archie in Victoria

Buckingham Palace said Tuesday it would not comment on private matters

Meng extradition case back in court for second day on double criminality test

Meng is accused of lying to HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with an Iran-based subsidiary

Canada to ratify new NAFTA next week following U.S. Senate approval: Trudeau

Trudeau says millions of Canadians depend on stable, reliable trade

Skier dies at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

Put away the shovels, week of rain ahead for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada calling for wet weather until Sunday

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Most Read