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Calabogie, Ont. residents and first responders join forces in dramatic dump truck rescue


Quick thinking by residents and first responders avoided a potential tragedy as they rescued a man trapped inside an overturned dump truck submerged in a frigid water.

Calabogie, Ont. resident Devin Campbell happened to drive by just after it happened.

"As we were coming up to that corner, I could see tire tracks going off the road and then that guardrail was completely gone. It looked like someone went through it."

The vehicle ended up in the water off Barryvale Road at around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday. The overturned dump truck left the driver submerged under water up to his chin. Campbell, his neighbour and friend Gord, rushed to the scene and discovered the driver restrained by a seatbelt.

Despite the challenging conditions, they attempted to rescue him until first responders arrived.

"It was tough because after only two or three minutes you start losing feeling in your hands," Campbell said.

Robyn Summers-Campbell, Devin's wife, commended the rescuers.

"They were both in just over an hour able to get him out," said Summers-Campbell.

"The two of them were great. They just knew exactly what to do and they were freezing. They were in the water for probably 30 minutes, maybe more. Just in and out. Their hands were purple."

The driver spent roughly 70 minutes in the water, leading to hypothermia for both the victim and the rescuers.

OPP say a driver lost control of his truck and crashed into water along Barryvale Road in Calabogie, Ont. Nov. 28, 2023. With the help of a neighbour and OPP officers, the driver was freed. (OPP/handout)

They were assisted by the Greater Madawaska Fire Department and Renfrew County EMS.

The owner of the truck says it is completely destroyed but that the driver is in good spirits.

"The biggest thing for me was that he was okay. He's my cousin. We're like brothers," said Kelly Church, the owner of Utility Pole Drilling.

"He said it was slow motion. It just started to turn and down he went."

Renfrew County EMS took the driver and the officers to hospital. The driver was treated for hypothermia but was in good spirits at the hospital.

Greater Madawaska Township Mayor Rob Weir commended the efforts put forth by everyone.

"From the volunteer fire department to our OPP police force, everybody came together, worked as one, worked as a unit, worked as a community and it's just wonderful," Weir said.

Luckily for the driver, Campbell and his neighbour Gord just happen to be in the right place at the right time.

"I'm just glad that he's doing okay,” said Campbell.

"It was just good timing and it's nice that everyone kind of banded together to help him get out of the water. It could have been a lot worse."

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Ted Raymond Top Stories

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