A Williams Lake man is lucky to be alive after being swept down a steep embankment in complete darkness toward the Fraser River while travelling on Highway 20 early Monday morning.
The motorist and his vehicle were swept some 500 feet down the bank after water washed out a section of the highway in the middle of the night. Early reports indicate the man managed to get himself back up to the highway for help and is currently being treated at hospital.
The victim’s employer, who does not want to be named, said the man described having the “road just disappear in front of him.”
“He’s going to be OK and that’s all I want to hear,” the employer said at the hospital Monday, adding the long time Williams Lake resident is very sore but recovering.
RCMP were called at 3:09 a.m., said RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, and advised of the washout, estimated to be in excess of 150 metres and approximately a half of a kilometre west of the Sheep Creek Bridge on Highway 20.
The public is asked to stay away from the area and not to travel Highway 20 at this time.
Central Cariboo Search and Rescue and BC Ambulance also attended.
No word yet what caused the slide or where the water came from.
Chilcotin resident Linda-Lou Howarth said drivers traveling between Williams Lake and the Chilcotin can use the Rudy Johnson Bridge and Meldrum Creek Road as a detour, which will add an extra hour to their trip.
“People have to be aware of the cattle on the road and the deer,” Howarth said, adding that the road is quite dusty.