Nolan Johnston and Jakob Thornton are being praised for their heroism after they rescued a 90-year-old man trapped in his car on a dirt road in Pender Harbour.
The senior, Paul Jones, had gotten his SUV stuck in the mud three days earlier. He exited the car, but, given his age, immediately realized his situation and knew that there was nothing he could do to dislodge his car or escape the wilderness.
“I was in dire straits,” Jones told As It Happens host Carol Off.
“I realized that this was a pretty bad situation to be in, and I’d better not try to move the car anymore, otherwise it might tip over onto its left side into the ditch, which was about six feet below me.”
“I might have walked out, but being 90 years old, I’m not that good a walker,” he continued. “I think I was up there around five miles … that was too much for me, I think.”
Miraculously, Jones said that he was able to survive until he was discovered by the two teens on nothing but a jar of cashews and half-a-bottle of water.
But Jones’ car was on a particularly dangerous ledge, where even the slightest movement in the car might have made it tip over. At one point, he dropped his jar of cashews and was unable to retrieve it only an arms length away due to the cars haphazard rocking.
When the two boys found Jones, they had been biking down the dirt road at breakneck speeds, and Jones feared they wouldn’t have heard his agitated banging against the driver’s window.
But they did hear him.
“I was so delighted to see them that I banged quite vigorously on the window, which I’d been unable to put up or down for several hours,” said Jones.
“They went by me about 40 miles an hour, and I was very much afraid that I might have missed them, but the second fellow heard me banging on the window and came along back.”
The boys tentatively opened the car, retrieved Jones, and called the police.
“He looked real pale and super weak and couldn’t really talk and couldn’t keep his head up,” Johnston told reporters.
The road, in fact, turned out to be too dangerous for rescue crews to drive down, leading to a kilometre-long walk to retrieve the grateful senior citizen.
When the two boys returned to school, they were greeted by Jones and hailed as heroes, even receiving a letter of thanks from B.C. Premier John Horgan.
“You both demonstrated compassion and levelheadedness in a stressful situation, possibly saving a man’s life. You have made your school, community and province very proud,” Horgan wrote.