A family of three was driving from Corner Brook to Burgeo one evening in March when they found themselves stranded on the highway due to terrible and worsening weather conditions. High winds, blowing snow, and heavy drifting prevented them from going forward or back.
Conditions were fine for the first 150 kilometres, but we all know that weather in Newfoundland can change in a heartbeat.
Snowclearing equipment was taken off Route 480 — known for its extreme weather conditions and difficulty driving under such circumstances — and the highway became closed to traffic.
To make matters worse, there was no cell phone coverage on the Burgeo highway from the turnoff at the Trans-Canada Highway until just outside of town. There’s usually a short stretch of about 200 metres just north of Corner Brook with scant service, and this was the location of the last contact made with the family that night.
The RCMP and Department of Transportation and Works crews made an attempt around midnight to reach the stranded family. They were only able to make it 7 kilometres outside Corner Brook before severe weather and impassable road conditions forced the RCMP to turn back. They returned from their unsuccessful mission at around 3 a.m. and made a second attempt at dawn, but still couldn’t get past the 7 kilometre mark.
The family was finally located by snowmobile after being stranded in frigid temperatures for a total of 21 hours. They survived the night with the help of an emergency car kit. Huddled under a blanket, they rationed food and water as they waited for help.
There’s no doubt the family was grateful to have the emergency kit that night. It’s teaches us the valuable lesson that we should always be prepared when making long distance trips by vehicle. We shouldn’t underestimate the possibilities.
If you or someone you love is taking a road trip, make sure you have an emergency car kit containing the following items:
· Cell Phone
· Extra Clothing and Shoes
· First Aid Kit
Always make sure that family and friends know where you’re going and which route you’re taking. We hope you’ll never need to use your emergency kit, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
To read the CBC report on this story, click here.