When we left Peg Leg in Chilliwack BC, an inebriated man was being tied to a 100ft tow cable and sent out to walk across the Fraser River with waters rising up past his chest level to rescue a pickup truck stuck for the 3rd day.
We arrived on Friday, March 29th 2013 at PegLeg with the waters low, and the fields of sand & river rock quite uninhabited considering the predicted warm weather for a long weekend! We noted a few trucks were crossing over a portion of the Fraser to the island in the middle without difficulty but still – the waters were rising above most of their tires. Nevertheless life was calm & uneventful all day.
Saturday Day 1
By Saturday afternoon around 4pm we noticed a pickup truck stuck in what appeared to be the deepest point in the crossing with its nose pointing towards the rushing waters and its rear sticking out like a duck’s tail. From our angle, it appeared to be an older pickup with a modified flat-bed or box. It did appear to be a work truck and we can only hope it was the owner taking it out for the weekend and not an errant employee!
None of the other trucks on shore appeared capable of towing this driver out. Eventually a tractor approached across the river.
We realize that the truck isnt just a pickup when the tractor attaches the tow-rope to the front of the truck & it spins around revealing the massive trailer! We can also see that the truck apepars quite new and rather expensive! Multi-attempts to haul the truck & trailer out of the water are unsuccessful – more than one tow-rope shears under the strain.
At this point a tow-truck arrives. But without the help of the tractor, he seems unwilling to cross. But even the tow-truck has issue with the cable and the wire snaps across the river & with repairs required – the rescue is delayed. The sun is getting lower on the horizon - a chill is floating across the water – and many of the people involved have been in the frigid waters for hours now.
With the tractor attached to the tow-truck attached to the pickup – some headway is finally made. The pickup is parked on the far beach but cannot continue. As the sun goes down, only the trailer is successfully rescued that night before dark.
Sunday – Day 2
Another glorious day and a few trucks become stuck in the river but are successfully rescued. Alone on the far shore sits the pickup truck with the hood open and exposed. The tow-truck makes another attempt to resuce but falls victim to the river as well – driving on the wrong side of the magical safe-line. A second tow-truck approaches to rescue the first. Another long walk in the frigid river to connect the two trucks together. We continue to watch the drama but our desire to help is swayed by the continued failure on the part of others and the risks to our truck financially and personally if we attempted a rescue.
Monday – Day 3
Its clear now that the water levels are rising and its not a pattern of the tides. What was once all a gravel bed is not streaked by veins of the Fraser River criss-crossing across the beach. Now – there is no question – we cant attempt a rescue. Our heavy truck easily sinks into the loose gravel and sand. If we had a long cable to cross the river with – it would be easy to tow the truck out – but who tows us out? Where is the tractor? Where are the other tow-trucks?
There are 3hrs before dark. Onlookers stand on the beach staring at the abandoned truck. Most of the campers have left as the only access to PegLeg is getting deeper under water. The tow-truck driver now has a very long cable – estimating around 100 feet – and some fellow drinks his last gulp from his beer can, tosses it on the ground, wraps the huge tow cable around his slim body, and steps out into the river. Its not long before the water catches the tow cable; battling the frigid waters, the weight & drag of the tow-cable, the strength of the current, and the failing light, our hero starts out.
This is the last view we have of the truck before we head home. We dont hold alot of hope for our hero or the truck. By tonight – the entire bank this truck is clinging to will be submerged. But – from the tales we’ve heard this weekend – this is just one of many rescues that occur in this area every year!
PS – for the sake of the business – I have removed obvious signage from his truck.