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Man pulled from submerged vehicle off Wheeler Boulevard

By Tara Clow Dec 11, 2023 | 1:44 PM

A dramatic rescue off Wheeler Boulevard on Monday morning in Moncton.

Emergency responders arrived at around 6:30 am after a two-vehicle collision between the Morton and Universite Avenue exits.

Moncton Fire Platoon Chief Keith Guptill says one vehicle was upside down in an estuary of the River.

“We stretched one of our aerial units out across the car so we could get to our crews on the other side. Rather than use the boat, because the estuary was so narrow, we were able to secure two of our guys in dry suits to one of the other trucks and use the ropes to manage them. They were able to get a footing and walk to the vehicle, get in, and pull the victim out.”

Guptill says when they arrived, the tide was going out, but the car was almost completely underwater and was sitting upside down.

“By the time we were able to get him out, the water was rushing out fast. I would say it was very deep in the middle, around five feet and tapering out to three or four feet on the sides,” Guptill adds.

He says getting the car upright was the first step, and then they had to get the man out.

“It took around 11 or 12 minutes, give or take, but in a situation like that, I’m not watching my clock as much as I’m watching what is happening with my crews.”

Around 16 firefighters assisted with the rescue along with other emergency responders including paramedics and RCMP.

Guptill told us that these types of rescues don’t happen regularly, but they are always training to ensure they are ready.

“It was a combination of high-angle rescue, water rescue, and then the auto extrication. So we used three different skill sets.”

Guptill says the man was in critical condition when they pulled him out. He was rushed to hospital, but there was no further update on his condition.

“I’m very proud of my crew. They did a great job in the pouring rain on the side of the highway and the team effort was amazing. The rain makes everything very slippery. It adds an extra level of difficulty,” Guptill stated.

The person in the other vehicle wasn’t hurt.