'That saved his life': Truck teetering off Hwy 17 hangs on by its steel tool box

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'That saved his life': Truck teetering off Hwy 17 hangs on by its steel tool box

A driver walked away with minor injuries after a crash sent his truck teetering off the edge of Highway 17 in Delta, B.C. on Thursday.

Delta Fire Chief Kelly McLenaghen says although his crews had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate the male driver, a tool box installed underneath the flatbed truck saved his life.

"Luckily for the tool box — that saved his life," the fire chief said, describing a steel box in the undercarriage which measured one metre by one metre.

"He was hanging by a thread there until we secured him."

Sharlene Brooks, a spokesperson with Delta police, says the truck was driving westbound past Tannery Road when it clipped a semi-truck.

There was minimal damage but the collision sent the truck careening headfirst through a steel railing separating the highway from railroad tracks below, pushing aside a concrete barrier.

"The truck was hanging about 70 to 80 feet [above a] drop to the train tracks below," said McLenaghen. "The guy must have been pretty scared inside."

Rescue crews immediately secured the truck to one of their fire engines after they arrived.

McLenaghen says he believes the driver was in the precarious spot for about 15 minutes before they were able to extricate him, making the rescue especially difficult. 

The driver was sent to hospital but McLenaghen says he was able to walk on his own.

All westbound lanes were reopened as of 5 p.m. PT after crews installed temporary railings.