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Watch: Trapped driver is rescued from swirling floodwaters in Galana-Kulalu causeway

A truck driver is lucky to be alive after being rescued from raging floodwaters after his truck was swept off the Galana-Kulalu causeway as he crossed it.

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) shared the dramatic rescue by two of their pilots who rescued the driver after responding to a call about a stranded driver in the rising waters.

A video clip shared on social media shows one of the pilots, identified as Roan Carr-Hartley, springing into action to rescue the driver, who SWT said had been trapped for most of the day on Wednesday.

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The SWT team rescued truck driver from raging floods after his truck was pushed off the Galana-Kulalu causeway as he crossed. PHOTO COURTESY OF Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

“It was 4.30pm on the afternoon of 3 May 2023 when our Galana Operations Manager raised the alarm: A tanker had crossed the Galana-Kulalu causeway when the river suddenly rose and surrounded it,” SWT said.

The driver was trapped inside the vehicle from 10am until he was rescued at around 5pm.

According to SWT, the crisis worsened when the water pushed the tanker, which was carrying petrol, onto its side, shattering the windscreen and engulfing the cabin.

The man clung to the top as onlookers from the shore watched helplessly, horrified but unable to intervene as the current made any kind of crossing impossible.

Slowly, steadily, Taru Carr-Hartley flew the SWT helicopter to the scene, inched it down to the truck and hovered an astonishing six centimetres above it.

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Meanwhile, Roan, strapped into a harness attached to the aircraft, stepped onto the tanker, grabbed the driver’s hand and helped him on board.

“We can only imagine what was going through his mind as the water continued to rise around him. But he was back on solid ground within minutes of the helicopter’s arrival. It was a high-risk rescue mission that ended with the best possible outcome,” SWT added.

Flooding is a constant threat during the rainy season and it is often impossible to predict when or how quickly water levels will rise.

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