Driver survives crash into Yukon River

A Watson Lake man managed to escape his sinking car and swim to shore after he careened off the road and into the Yukon River Monday night.

A Watson Lake man managed to escape his sinking car and swim to shore after he careened off the road and into the Yukon River Monday night.

The 64-year old was driving his Mazda 6 southbound on the Alaska Highway when it went off the road and into the water at the Lewes River Bridge around 7:30 p.m.

“It’s safe to say that the driver is lucky to be alive,” said Cpl. Natasha Dunmall with the Whitehorse RCMP.

The man was able to swim to shore where he was met by a passing driver who saw the crash.

The Good Samaritan kept him warm onshore until the paramedics arrived. He was taken to Whitehorse General Hospital to be looked over by doctors. The police did not have any information on his condition. The Yukon Hospital Corporation does not give out that information.

Temperatures around that time dipped to -14 degrees Celsius in the area, according to Environment Canada. It was also snowing.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the blue car could still be seen under the water. It had moved from the spot where it originally landed and was now partially under the bridge.

Environment Yukon and the Department of Highways and Public Works have all been informed about what happened, Dunmall said. So has Yukon Energy, which runs the nearby locks.

Dunmall said police are still investigating what led to the crash. Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor, but poor weather conditions may have played a part, she said.

“He became disoriented by the weather conditions.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at

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