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Couple buried in mudslide

A Saskatchewan couple is recovering in hospital after a mudslide swept them off a cliff in British Columbia.

Weyburn resident Sheri Niemegeers said she and her boyfriend, Gabe Rosescu, of Regina were nearing their destination of Nelson, B.C. on Thursday, when disaster struck.

"We were driving down the road and we were pretty excited because we weren't far from where our destination was. And all of a sudden we both were like, holy heck, there's a tree. And then bang, that's the last thing I remember," she said.

The car tumbled down the side of a cliff in a mess of trees, mud and debris.

"The next thing I knew, we were suspended somehow in the trees," she said.

Rosescu was barely conscious and breathing heavily, she said. Niemegeers convinced him that they had to escape through his window, since "it was straight down," through hers.

Niemegeers tried to make a call, but there was no reception, she said. They reached a ledge, where she started assessing their injuries — she had a "smashed" ankle, while he was bleeding from his head and face.

Luckily, she remembered to grab her medication for Addison's disease, which affects her adrenal glands, and took the moment to inject herself.

"Without that I probably wouldn't have survived because my body can't handle adrenaline," she said.

That's when help arrived.

"All of a sudden we heard a vehicle and heard some voices, so we started screaming for some help," she said.

About six metres in, he said, he heard some screaming and shouted back for help.

Bowes said he had to move slowly through the mud, which reached his chest, toward a pile of trees about seven metres high to reach Rosescu.

"I've been a firefighter for 20 years and seen a lot of things, but never seen an injury as bad as Gabe's was, he had a very major critical head wound," Bowes said.

Worried about the couple, he reached out to the family and was connected with Rosescu by phone.

"I was very relieved yesterday when I heard that he was still alive and doing well," he said.

Rosescu was airlifted to a Kelowna, B.C., hospital, where his brother-in-law Don Struthers said he is recovering with head injuries, including some bleeding in the brain and a broken orbital bone.

Doctors are waiting until swelling goes down before scheduling a surgery, he said.

"I guess they are cautiously optimistic that things will keep improving," Struthers said.

Niemegeers was taken to a hospital in Trail, B.C., and is being treated for a broken sternum and ankle, he said.



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