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Desperate driver stranded outside Pemberton for 36 hours lights fire in middle of the Duffey

BCAA said they were unable to locate him

A driver left completely stranded for 36 hours on the Duffey Lake Road outside of Pemberton this week resorted to desperate measures in an attempt to flag down a ride.

The man and his pooch kept trying to stop other drivers after his alternator failed, to no avail. He contacted friends, who alerted BCAA to the matter. However, nobody came to the rescue.

So the worried man took matters into his own hands, using nearby branches to start a fire in the middle of the road.

Passerby Marcel Wolke saw smoke on the road at approximately 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10, and immediately pulled in to help.

“I was heading west on the Duffey Lake Road coming from Lillooet towards Pemberton. I came across this guy who had lit a fire on the road,” said Wolke. “I pulled up. He explained that he was stuck and had been stuck for the past 36 hours. He was just stuck there and desperate. That’s why he lit a fire in the centre of the road to grab people’s attention. He said so many people just drove past.”

Wolke said BCAA was unable to find the man’s exact location.

“He has an inReach device that he used to contact friends, who then got in touch with BCAA. They said they couldn’t locate him," he said.

"He was trying to get his friends to get a tow truck up there. He has a little camper in the back. He has a diesel heater, but he said he was just about to run out of diesel as well.”

The man, named Jeremiah, was insistent on staying with his vehicle so it can be towed. He refused a ride back to Pemberton with Wolke.

“I asked him if he wanted to ride down with me, but he just wanted his vehicle to get towed. I called BCAA as soon as I got back into cell range,” said Wolke. “I could tell them exactly how far outside of Pemberton he was. He is a BCAA member, and he couldn’t comprehend why they couldn’t come grab him.”

The man was emotional and relieved when Wolke pulled over.  

“He kept trying to flag people down, but they would just drive past him,” said Wolke. “That’s why he decided to light a fire in the centre of the road. He just wanted someone to stop. I thought he was just about to choke up at times. He was just desperate. He was upset that nobody would stop. He lost a little faith in humanity there.”

BCAA apologized for the driver’s lengthy wait. Senior communications manager, Sara Holland, confirmed he is now located and safe.  

“I can confirm that the driver is now picked up and riding in a tow truck heading to Whistler,” she said. “The driver was in a truck with a camper and while we were aware he was warm, we knew we needed to get him towed as soon as possible.”

Holland said several teams were unable to locate the stranded man.

“It was a challenge to locate his vehicle, as he was on one of many side roads,” she said. “We sent a few tow trucks out but they were initially unable to find him. We are so pleased that he is now being towed and we are terribly sorry about his experience and how long it took.”