MELTDOWN: The sudden thawing of Manitoba's winter road network left drivers stranded -and northern communities without access to vital supplies.
WRONG LAKE, Man. –Truckers became stranded and required RCMP rescue when Manitoba’s winter road network suddenly and unexpectedly thawed in mid-March.
On March 15 at about 8:30 a.m., a trucking company called the RCMP and informed them one of its commercial drivers was unaccounted for during a run to St. Theresa’s Point First Nation.
The 52-year-old driver left St. Theresa’s Point on March 12 but had not arrived in Winnipeg.
The RCMP discovered the driver’s rig had become stuck in the mud and the driver was stranded without food.
The driver, who also suffered from a medical condition, needed help.
Believing the driver had become separated from a convoy of truck drivers on the winter road, the RCMP said it acted quickly and dispatched a plane to search for the missing driver. The pilot noticed a stranded semi with a flatbed carrying another semi just north of Wrong Lake and also saw the driver nearby, waving at the plane.
During a second loop, the pilot discovered several more stranded semis on the south side of Wrong Lake. The stranded drivers kept a fire going to keep warm.
“Since there is nowhere to land a plane in that area, RCMP chartered a helicopter to retrieve the driver with a nurse and RCMP officer from Bloodvein First Nation with food and water on-board,” the RCMP reported after the rescue.
“At 2 p.m., the truck driver was found safe and otherwise in good health. He was transported to safety to Bloodvein First Nation where arrangements were made to fly him home.”
For industry reaction on what went wrong, and the continuing difficulty of serving remote communities, see the related story on pg. 14.
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