A Saskatchewan couple is recovering in hospital after a mudslide swept them off a cliff in British Columbia.
Don Struthers said his brother-in-law Gabe Rosescu and his girlfriend, Sheri Niemegeers, were en route to Nelson, B.C., when disaster struck.
“They were driving down the road, happy go lucky, excited to see their buddy. And Gabe said all of a sudden they saw one tree kind of fall right onto the road,” Struthers said.
“They didn’t have time to hit the brakes or anything and, before they knew it, they were engulfed by mud and trees. And that’s where their memory goes blank.”
The first person to arrive was a firefighter from Lloydminster, Alta., who recognized the danger, Struthers said.
He and his passenger stopped traffic one kilometre back, before approaching the mudslide to see if anyone was hurt.
“All of a sudden they heard a voice crying out, it happened to be Gabe. They said they were pretty much chest-deep in mud and trees and branches,” Struthers said.
He said the couple was lucky that a pileup of trees stopped the vehicle from tumbling all the way down the cliff.
Rosescu was airlifted to a Kelowna, B.C., hospital, where he is recovering with head injuries, including some bleeding in the brain and a broken orbital bone.
Doctors are waiting until swelling goes down before scheduling a surgery, he said.
“I guess they are cautiously optimistic that things will keep improving,” Struthers said.
Niemegeers was taken to a hospital in Trail, B.C., and is being treated for a broken sternum and ankle.
Struthers said Rosescu is a sales rep and Niemegeers works for an oil-field company in northern Saskatchewan.
He said they have only been together four or five months, but are head over heels for one another.