Dramatic rescue after woman swept away in Lantzville mudslide
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Monday, January 29, 2018 11:14AM PST
Last Updated Monday, January 29, 2018 6:58PM PST
First responders rushed into action to rescue a woman swept away in her vehicle by a massive washout in Lantzville early Monday.
Lantzville Fire Department was called to Rumming Road at around 12:30 a.m. after a mudslide had reportedly trapped a woman inside of her car.
Crews arrived to find a large hole on the roadway about nine to 12 metres deep.
"I sent my guys down to the bottom of the embankment to see if the vehicle had reached the bottom, which it hadn't," said Lantzville Deputy Fire Chief John Marment. "The vehicle was about halfway up the washout and they could see it, but it was getting hit with water and mud and debris."
Emergency Health Services spoke with the woman trapped inside of her car who became increasingly distressed as her car slid down the embankment on its roof.
"The car was upside down and she was standing on the roof of the vehicle. She was up to her waist in water and mud," said Marment.
Nanaimo Search and Rescue crews clarified that the woman was still trapped in the vehicle when they used a long line to pull her out. Debris was falling onto the car when she was rescued and the woman, cold and shaken from the ordeal, was sent to hospital with undisclosed injuries.
Marment said the woman, a Coombs resident, was hanging on for her life before being rescued. "It's something I've never experienced in 24 years since I've lived here," he said.
Emcon deployed a crew to the washout, setting up a pump to divert water from further eroding the hole in the road.
"Both lanes were washed out and it's probably about 30 or 40 feet deep just along the roadway. It'll be maybe 60 or 70 feet deep a little downstream. It was quite a deep trench," said Emcon Operations Manager Oliver Watson.
Highway crews are coming up with a plan for a permanent fix, but Rumming Road could remain closed for days before the road is repaired and the car is removed, the Regional District of Nanaimo said.
Other areas on the mid-island were slammed with up to 100 millimetres of rain, prompting Environment Canada to issue a rainfall warning for the region.
It led to washouts on other roads including Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek, near Errington. The road was taped off after a large sinkhole developed across both lanes.
The Regional District of Nanaimo warned drivers that Martindale Road in Parksville had been closed to due to flooding, and motorists were urged to use caution on Howard Road in Errington, where the road had also flooded.
Mainroad South Island Contracting also reported that the Pacific Marine Route, which connect Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan, was shut down due to flooding at Fairy Lake.