A daring rescue of a road accident victim in danger of drowning after her vehicle flipped into a ditch off Highway 7 near Mission, British Columbia, in April 2004 has earned Abbotsford truck driver Phil Tarrant the 2004 Bridgestone/Firestone Canadian Truck Hero Award. The award is given annually by Bridgestone/Firestone Canada to a Canadian trucker who demonstrates courage, quick thinking, and integrity in an emergency.
On April 26, Tarrant, an employee of Vedder Transport Ltd in Abbotsford for the past 10 years, was driving along Highway 7 between Maple Ridge and Mission. He saw a car in front of him lose control, strike a utility pole, and flip upside down, eventually landing in a water-filled ditch with the car's lone occupant trapped inside.
Realizing that the occupant was in danger, he drove his truck as close as possible to the partially submerged car and, with the help of a motorist who was also at the scene, hooked the crane's line to the car. Tarrant proceeded to guide the crane over live power lines — a delicate and dangerous operation — and lifted the car about four feet out of the water so the occupant could breathe.
Using the crane, Tarrant held the vehicle in this position for about 20 minutes until emergency personnel and the police department arrived and extricated the woman from the vehicle. Once the car occupant was safe, Tarrant maneuvered the crane to lift the vehicle over the power lines and set it down on the roadside.
Along with a trophy recognizing his achievement, Tarrant received a $5,000 check from Bridgestone/Firestone Canada. He joins 48 professional Canadian transport truck drivers who have won the award, which Bridgestone/Firestone Canada has presented since 1956.