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

Council of the Haida Nation releases guidelines for expanding social circles

Next steps also say outdoor spaces such as parks, playgrounds, trails may be reopening for day use

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay wins ‘Most Outstanding School’ award

B.C. School Sports will present school with banner, add GTN to plaque as winners of 2019-2020 year

‘A time of transition:’ CHN looking to release next steps of pandemic response this week

State of local emergency is in effect; Gaagwiis says CHN developing indicators to guide next steps

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

Two new bridges to be built along Highway 16 between Port Clements, Tlell

Ministry of Transportation says $5.4-million project expected to be complete in fall 2020

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read