Duncan Moffat, 23, is recovering in hospital after being trapped inside a smashed truck near Sayward, a tiny northern Vancouver Island village.

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

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project is on track, despite COVID-19 and the recent provincial election. (Government of BC photo)
Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 closures announced

The first major closures are expected to occur starting on April 12 until May 14

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

One of the renovated VWs that has served as the inspiration for Wood's idea for a VW village to redefine camping. (Jeremiah Woods photo)
Golden entrpreneau walks away with a deal from Dragon’s Den

Camping in the Woods combines a love of the outdoors and for classic VW vehicles

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Most Read