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Daring rescue saves driver

Hovercraft and emergency crews stop vehicle moments before it plunges into ocean



By Clare Ogilvie

It was touch and go last weekend when a car drove off the Sea to Sky Highway and came to rest balanced on a rocky outcropping over the ocean near Porteau Cove.

When emergency vehicles got there crews had to lower themselves to the car and attach cables to stabilize it so the driver could be rescued.

The Coast Guard hovercraft Penac was also called in and by nosing its way underneath the car it made sure the driver and car would not fall into the ocean. The hovercraft was also used as a platform by rescue crews cutting away the roof of the car.

The drama unfolded about 5 p.m. Sunday. According to a report in the Province Newspaper a car had been seen driving erratically on the highway just before the accident.

Squamish RCMP Cpl Dave Ritchie said the driver suffered head and spinal injuries and may suffer some paralysis.

The Penac carried him to shore before he was airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital.

The highway was closed for several hours during the rescue.

Squamish RCMP is investigating the cause of the accident, which they believe is alcohol related. The name of the driver is not being released pending the outcome of the investigation.

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