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

Victoria police are warning people after two Victoria residents fell victim to financial scams on Nov. 18 and 19. (Black Press Media File photo)
VicPD issue warning after two Victoria residents scammed $3,500

In both cases, the fraudsters were posing as financial services employees

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

The old home at 785 Island Rd. is coming down as the developer was unable to find a feasible business case to save it. (Black Press Media File Photo)
With no takers to move old Oak Bay home, teardown begins

‘We tried a last hurrah,’ developer says

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes delivers the inaugural address at council’s swearing-in ceremony in November 2018. The ceremony included blessings from representatives of two Christian churches. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes delivers the inaugural address at council’s swearing-in ceremony in November, 2018. The ceremony included blessings from representatives of two Christian churches – a fact highlighted in a report released by the BC Humanist Associaton on Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Christian-based prayer at inaugural Vancouver Island council meetings violates court ruling

Blessings violate Supreme Court decision that prayer in council is discriminatory

Bystanders attend to a cyclist who is knocked to the pavement of Oak Bay Avenue. Witnesses say the cyclist was knocked off their bike in a dooring incident on Oak Bay Avenue at Fell Street at around 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday. 
(Daniel Opden Dries Photo)
UPDATED: VicPD tickets driver for ‘dooring’ cyclist on Oak Bay Avenue

Incident occurred at Oak Bay Avenue and Fell Street

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

Port McNeill councillor Derek Koel busts a rap to help promote the town’s active transportation plan. (Facebook video screenshot)
VIDEO: Vancouver Island councillor makes rap video to promote active transportation plan

Active transportation is a personal matter for councillor Derek Koel.

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

Most Read