Duncan Moffat is recovering at Victoria General Hospital and is expected to be there through the holidays and into the new year for rehabilitation on his legs. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Trapped Vancouver Island crash survivor celebrates second chance at life

“Life is good now. It’s good to be alive.”

It is said that crisis reveals character.

Duncan Moffat was airlifted to Victoria General Hospital a month ago after spending five days trapped in his crashed truck. As he rides the hospital elevator, his thoughtful and lighthearted banter with the nurses said it all.

“I am just so grateful. I’m lucky to be alive, that’s for sure,” Moffat said.

A hunter found the 23-year-old pinned inside a 2003 Dodge pickup truck, about 12 metres down a steep embankment just outside Sayward, less than 10 kilometers away from his dad’s house where he was headed at the time of the crash.

Moffat was there for five days, unable to get his legs free from the wreckage, surviving on a box of apples and a half bottle of Gatorade.

“The flavour was green apple. Of all the things I could have found, it had to be green apple. It was hilarious afterwards but at the moment I was like, ‘C’mon!’” said Moffat.

RELATED: Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

In between chatting about the gratitude he feels and all the people he wants to thank, Moffat talks about his injuries, almost as a minor sidebar to his story.

“[I’m] doing pretty good, honestly, healing up really well. All my wounds are doing just like they expected if not better,” Moffat said. “The only real problem is my feet. I can’t move them, like, at all. Not even toe wiggling.”

Sitting in such a constricted spot for so long did damage to his nerves. Moffat said he can’t move his left side from the hip down and the right side from the knee down.

“The doctors are hoping they get better over time. I’m going to be starting rehab. That’s why I’ll be at the hospital for another month or two,” Moffat said.

Christmas lights have already been put up around his hospital room with his family planning to spend Christmas – and Moffat’s birthday on Dec. 30 – by his bedside.

“He is in good hands. He’s young, he’s tough. He’ll get through it,” said his father Glenn Moffat, who arrived on the scene of the crash while first responders were still digging his son out of the truck.

“I saw the ambulance go out. My girlfriend came home and said, ‘Something is going on out there, you should go and look.’ She just had a feeling.”

It took a while to extract Moffat from the truck. Firefighters had to use the jaws of life, removing the doors and basically taking the whole truck apart to get him out.

“They did a number on the truck. Just the way my legs were caught up underneath and with my femur being broken, they couldn’t bend anything. They had to pull me straight out,” Moffat explained. “It all worked out. I definitely have to thank the firefighters. They were awesome. So professional about it and so good at their jobs.”

There is one person that Moffat can’t wait to get out of the hospital to thank.

If it weren’t for the hunter who found him, Moffat might not be here today.

“It is such a fluke he found me. He went and called for help and then came back and waited with me,” Moffat said. “It is very much thanks to him. I have to meet him after I get out of here and thank him properly.”

RELATED: Vancouver Island man survived for ‘days’ trapped in smashed truck

Memories of his time spent stuck in the truck are fuzzy.

He said when he first came to, he thought he was at his friend’s house. He was convinced that his friend came and let him out of the truck once in a while. He didn’t realize he was trapped. Suffering from a broken femur and fractured shoulder, he stayed in that state until the day before the hunter found him when he started to gain some clarity of thought.

“It took me until the day before the hunter arrived for me to even realize that I was stuck in the truck,” Moffat said, marvelling at what shock does to the body and brain.

What is clear, is that he is grateful for his second chance.

“Life is good now. It’s good to be alive.”


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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