A Metro Vancouver realtor couldn’t believe what was happening in front of him as he drove to work Tuesday morning.
Jay Lirag was turning onto the Barnet Highway in Port Moody when he saw a backhoe in front of him.
His first concern was a rock might get kicked up and scratch his car. What actually happened was far more startling.
“I see that his rear wheel pops out and starts flying towards this pedestrian,” said Lirag.
Lirag said the wheel appeared to weigh at least 90 kilograms (200 pounds) and almost hit the pedestrian.
“If you analyze it and look at the range and the distance and how that wheel went flying it was very, very close. It could have been tragic,” he said.
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In an emailed statement, Jeff Moi, Port Moody’s General Manager of Engineering and Operations said the city was looking into the incident.
“At this time, the incident appears to be due to a mechanical failure involving an internal component, but our investigation is ongoing as we work to determine the exact cause,” he said.
The statement went on to say, “the safety of the public and our employees is our highest priority.”
“The city follows a stringent preventative maintenance program that involves regularly servicing and inspecting our equipment in accordance with industry best practices. In addition, each piece of equipment undergoes a pre- and post-trip inspection by the operator each day.”
Lirag said he doesn’t think the pedestrian was hit with anything but noted he did come back and take some photos of the tire where it landed.
As for the backhoe operator, Lirag watched as he stabilized the machine and got it out of the way of traffic in just a few minutes.
“This guy’s a champ,” said Lirag. “He really corrected himself and held his composure.”
The City of Port Moody said once the investigation is complete, there will be an update made to the inspection and maintenance programs as required to try to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.