By RENE J. ROY
PORT AUX BASQUES — Eight members of the Channel-Port aux Basques Volunteer Fire Department responded to an accident scene near the Salvation Army / United Church cemetery around 7 p.m. on Thursday evening, July 22. Fire Chief Jerry Musseau said that the first call reported a tractor trailer had gone into a ditch and that the driver was still inside the cab, but it turned out that the Jaws of Life were unnecessary.
“Upon arrival, when we got there, the driver was (by) then, out of the truck,” said Musseau.
Musseau observed that there were, in fact, two vehicles involved – the tractor trailer and an SUV, both in the ditch. The tractor trailer had been carrying a load of lumber. The cab of the truck, still attached to the trailer, was on the roadway and blocking the West-bound lane into Port aux Basques.
“I think both of them came off the Marine Atlantic ferry,” stated the Fire Chief, who believes both vehicles were actually headed East at the time of the accident. “The SUV was also over in the West-bound lane, still heading East.”
Musseau says the SUV showed significant damage on the driver’s side and the airbags had deployed. At the time of the accident, weather conditions were poor.
“We were getting heavy rain, and thunder and lightning storms for a brief period of time. There was a lot of water build up on the highway,” said Musseau. “And, of course, as we approached the scene, there was a lot of traffic backed up.”
The SUV’s passengers were being sheltered in another vehicle, and the truck driver, still standing near his truck, had minor injuries reported Musseau.
“There was no major critical injury,” confirmed Musseau, who says the truck driver received medical attention from paramedics.
Firefighters remained on the scene for over an hour, and assisted with directing traffic until the truck recovery company arrived with its own flag people who then took over.
Only one RCMP officer responded to the accident.
“There was no one else to attend the scene apparently,” stated Musseau. “I think she said there were only three officers in Port aux Basques at this time, so that was a shortage of officers.”
Musseau says that under severe conditions, drivers need to slow down a bit more.
“The highway out of Port aux Basques is only a two-lane highway,” observed the Fire Chief.