A motorcyclist is lucky to be alive after being rescued from a water-filled ditch following an accident in Pitt Meadows Thursday evening.
The accident happened just after 6 p.m. on Thursday at the intersection of Hale Road and Old Dewdney Trunk Road during the afternoon rush.
Jodi Madison was at home in the backyard gardening, her husband, Alex Serpas-Lopez, was in the house and her daughter, Rebekah Seip, and son-in-law Rabi Herath, were just backing out of the driveway, when they heard a loud bang.
“I ran from the garden,” said Madison, yelling to her family, “That doesn’t sound good”.
It took them seconds to arrive on scene, practically right in front of their house, where they saw a young man, about 20, outside of his vehicle, a silver Pontiac Sunfire.
Madison asked him if he was hurt.
“He said I’m OK and he started looking around,” said Madison, adding that the young driver seemed to be in shock.
Immediately it dawned on her to search for what hit the young man’s vehicle. Before the bang Madison had heard a motorcycle.
“I started looking in the four corners, outside my house, across the road, into the blueberries,” Madison said.
Then she looked into the ditch on the north east side of the intersection where she saw a man – the top of his helmet and his red jacket – he was face down in the water.
“I literally didn’t even know what I was looking for but I saw the helmet and the jacket in the ditch and I yelled to my husband,” she said.
The motorcycle was nowhere to be found. It was later discovered submerged in the ditch.
Serpas-Lopez and Herath, who was only wearing flipflops, quickly scrambled down the embankment, about a metre and a half down into the ditch where the water was about a metre high. It took all the strength they had to pull the middle-aged man out of the water and with the help of two other bystanders, hoist him to the top. The group then rolled the man over on his side to get the water out of his system.
And, Madison said, none of them were wearing masks or gloves.
“You have seconds to think about this stuff,” she said.
Herath stabilized the man’s head, as the group removed his helmet and some of his gear while waiting for help to arrive. Madison directed traffic around the scene.
Meanwhile Seip was talking with the 911 operator.
Madison was relieved when she could see the man breathing on his own.
“He also said his own name,” said Madison, who was still trying to process everything that happened on Friday.
About three ambulances, two fire trucks and four police cars arrived on scene.
The man, she reported, was taken to hospital by ground ambulance and the other young driver was taken home by his parents.
Old Dewdney Trunk Road was closed both ways to traffic from Harris Road to 203 Street until about 4 a.m. the next day.
Madison was relieved the man survived the accident, noting there are multiple posts, trees, hard rocks and a fire hydrant he could have hit.
She is proud of the quick actions taken by her husband and son-in-law and doesn’t let herself think about what the outcome could have been if the motorcyclist had been in the ditch any longer.
Madison is hoping after hearing about what happened that people drive more cautiously.
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