WATCH: This week’s torrential rainfall caused road closures all over the island. In one case, the consequences could’ve been much more serious. A man was trapped in his truck for 12 hours after flood waters turned the road into a river. It happened in the community of Nitinat. Luisa Alvarez reports.
It may look like a river or even a lake but its a road. The only one that leads in and out of the Nitinat first nation reserve. After 48 hours of a torrential downpour, it was extremely flooded trapping Luke Little inside his truck while he was heading back home to the reserve.
“I got out of the truck, I went knee deep and the water was rushing too fast for me it was too cold so I said the heck with this I ran back to the truck took my socks and shoes off turned the truck on cranked the heat,” said Little.
Little attempted to get out again and walk home but he says the water levels were just too high to even try.
“Eight to ten feet high couldn’t even walk through it,” said Little.
It’s flooding season in the area around Nitinat Lake and when it rains hard the surrounding community does experience flooding but Little says this time was the worst.
“I’ve lived at Nitinat six years now and I’ve never experienced it this high never,” said Little.
While he was stuck his partner Wendy Thompson was worried sick, and since the area is still without phone service from the previous storm there was no way for them to get a hold of one another.
“I knew he was out there so I kept driving back and forth,” said Thompson.
But the water was getting too deep quickly and there was no way she could get to Little which was still quite a ways out by truck.
“I was scared, is he going to survive this? What’s happening? I don’t know I was literally trying not to cry,” said Thompson.
Because phoning for help wasn’t an option Little had to think outside the box.
“I could see lights on the other side of the road so I kept flashing my high beams to let them know I was there and stuck,” said Little.
It took twelve hours before someone could get to him.
They launched a boat with a motor on the gravel road which I’ve never seen before,” said Little.
“I grabbed onto him right away I really grabbed onto him,” said Thompson.
Little was hungry, wet, cold, and tired, the whole ordeal was scary but he was okay and now Little just looks back on it with a sense of humour remembering what he wanted most when he was rescued.
“First thing I asked for when the rescuers got to me you got a smoke? I didn’t say hi or nothing you got a smoke?,” Little said laughing.
And for next time they say their trucks will be fully stocked with food.