UPDATE: 12:30 P.M. Friday, Sept. 7.
The driver was transported to the airport last nigh (Sept. 6) but then back to Digby General, and moved to Kentville later in the night. He has since been sent on to Halifax. RCMP report he has serious injuries.
A tractor-trailer carrying 45,000 pounds of used clothing overturned and hit a man working on the side of Hwy. 101 on the Annapolis County side of the Bear River bridge.
The tractor-trailer was the only vehicle involved in the accident and the driver was alone in the truck.
Both the driver and the bystander were alert and talking when taken away by ambulance.
This is the second tractor-trailer load of used clothing to overturn in this spot in the last few years.
A resident of Waldec Line heard a loud grinding noise about 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6.
“That was followed by what sounded like a bunch of bowling pins crashing or something,” said the man who rushed down to the highway to see what had happened.
He found a tractor-trailer that had been heading east, on its passenger side, the cab crushed by the guardrail and the driver trapped inside.
He also found another man down the side of the embankment, alert and talking but with a broken leg.
The man said he was working near the last pole before the bridge when he looked up and saw the truck coming and started to run but he didn’t make it out of the way. He said the truck hit him and sent him flying down the bank.
An Eastlink van was parked just below the bridge on the Old Trunk No. 1.
That man was taking away by ambulance at 3:30 p.m.
Firefighters from Bear River with assistance from Digby continued to work to free the driver of the truck.
RCMP say the cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Tire skid marks on the bridge seem to indicate the truck was right against the concrete curb and metal railing for at least 200 m on the bridge before toppling onto the guardrail just off the bridge. The truck cleared away about 50 m of guardrail.
A length of the guardrail was stuck in the front of the trailer so tight that a Department of Transportation excavator could not pull it out.
The driver fell down in the passenger side of the cab and the cab was crumpled in around him.
Firefighters opened up the back of the tractor to get at the driver and could see his fingers moving and talk with him.
The driver was alert and talking when firefighters finally were able to get enough cab out of the way to remove him at 4:45 p.m.
He was taken away by ambulance but whether he went by Life flight to Halifax or to Digby General has still not been confirmed.
An EHS Life flight airplane was waiting at Digby Airport.
Transportation crews shut down Hwy 101 between the Mary Jane Riley Road (Exit 21a) and the Bear River exit (Exit 24) and were diverting traffic through Bear River—a detour of about 15 km.
Morse Towing of Middleton arrived about 5 p.m. with a 35-ton tow truck.
At first they attempted to flip the tractor trailer with the tow truck’s two 15-ton winches and a Department of Transportation excavator pulling as well.
At 7 p.m. they started unloading some of the clothing with the loader – they removed 17 bales of used clothing weighing approximately 8.5 tons.
At approximately 8 p.m. with the excavator and front end loader lifting and the tow truck pulling, they had the tractor-trailer back on its wheels.
Department of Transportation placed temporary concrete barriers along the side of the road and swept up the gravel and floor-dry that covered the road.
Hwy 101 opened again at 10 p.m.