People are being warned about driving over ice after a truck fell through at a popular crossing north of Saskatoon.
Warman Fire Rescue got a call around 7:30 a.m. Sunday of a pickup truck falling into moving water at the Clarkboro ferry crossing between Warman and Aberdeen.
“A lot of people think that’s a great short cut across to Aberdeen, but anytime you’re doing an ice crossing across moving water it’s dangerous,” fire Chief Russ Austin said Monday.
Austin said since the South Saskatchewan River is controlled by a dam, flow rates can increase and decrease dramatically in a short period of time.
“If that flow rate is high enough, I can’t even send our rescue technicians out there because it’s just too dangerous for them with the current and everything else,” he said.
While the pickup driver made it safely to shore, the incident led to another close call for a tow truck operator.
Local paper The Clark’s Crossing Gazette captured video of the tow driver venturing out in a small dingy in an effort to attach a cable to the pickup.
The man is then seen falling into the water as the partially submerged truck goes fully under. The operator was helped out of the water by two men on the ice.
Austin said the rescue crew wasn’t aware of a tow truck call – or the operator’s efforts – until video surfaced online.
“I was speechless. I had no idea someone would take their life in their hands in that fashion,” Austin said.
Astro Towing Ltd. confirmed it was contacted to assist with the recovery of the vehicle.
“Our recovery team was unable to retrieve the vehicle and recovery operations are ongoing,” CEO Geoff Roller said in an email statement Monday.
In November 2016, the province posted signs at the ferry crossing warning drivers to pass at their own risk after a vehicle fell through.
As for imposing a law on ice crossings, Austin doesn’t believe rules will stop people from driving across. He said people have been doing it since vehicles have been around.
“I don’t think we should have to legislate common sense to where people just shouldn’t take their lives into their own hands,” he said.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) foots the bill for rescue efforts in these cases.
An SGI spokesperson told 650 CKOM insurance also covers the claimant’s costs, barring standard exceptions that apply to all claims.
Claims generally aren’t covered if damage is the result of an intentional act, if a driver was impaired by drug or alcohol or if the damage was a result of street racing or fleeing from police.
Correction: A previous draft of this story indicated the Warman Fire Department recovered the truck from the river. As of 2 p.m. Monday, Warman fire said their crews hadn’t pulled the truck out, and that the matter was in the hands of Warman RCMP.