Driver 'lucky he didn't fall to his death' after truck hanging off Hwy. 17
The day after a crash that left a flatbed truck dangling precariously off Highway 17 in Delta, officials are still trying to figure out who was at fault.
The truck plowed through the concrete barrier on the side of the highway Thursday afternoon, leaving its rear tires raised off the ground. The driver was trapped inside.
"I've never seen anything like that before," said Delta Fire's acting captain Stephen Kesting.
Fuel was leaking onto the road, adding to the danger both the driver and first responders faced. Crews also had to carefully navigate heavy traffic in the area about two kilometres east of the Alex Fraser Bridge.
As fire crews, paramedics and police planned their strategy for the high-angle rescue, they had to consider that the wrong move could send the truck and driver plunging down to the ground about 30 metres below.
"It was hanging on by a couple of inches of metal, with the toolbox that was under the flat deck," Kesting said.
Police believe the driver was changing lanes on the highway when something went wrong. The truck collided with the back of a transport truck, crashed into the barrier, grinded along the rail and finally came to a halt just centimetres from the edge.
"The guy was very, very lucky that he didn't fall over to his death."
The driver of the semi came to the rescue first, attaching a chain to secure the flatbed truck. Delta Fire then climbed over the edge to rescue the man trapped inside. He was back on solid ground after a tense 10 minutes, suffering only minor injuries.
Delta police are still investigating exactly what happened, but say that charges or fines could be forthcoming.
"It could be mechanical, you're looking at sobriety of the driver, you're looking at speed, attention, all of those kinds of things," public affairs coordinator Sharlene Brooks said.
Officers are speaking to witnesses to put together a timeline of what happened leading up to the crash.
Canadian Slab Distributors, the company that owns the truck, told CTV News it is aware of the incident. The owner of the company said the crash could have been much worse.
"We're in the granite and quartz countertop business, so often his truck is loaded with really heavy slabs of stone," he told CTV.
"This particular route, he was returning from a drop-off location so he didn't have that in the back of his truck."
With reports from CTV Vancouver's Tom Popyk and Julie Nolin