Monique Sylvestre, aged 68, and her husband were driving across Wollaston Lake in the central Canadian province of Saskatchewan when the engine of their truck cut out, leaving them stranded. As the engine spluttered and then fell silent in the -40°C weather, the couple, who were on their way to visit an unwell relative, feared the worst.
“It was awful….you’re sitting in there and you’re thinking this is your last day or your last evening,” said Monique Sylvestre. As the cold began to take its toll on Sylvestre, she began to hallucinate, and on several occasions it seemed to her that their truck was still moving at high speed.
After being trapped for about five hours, however, Sylvestre’s husband had a flash of brilliance if boy racers could burn rubber, so could he. He took some tyres being carried in the rear of the truck and lit them on a fire. These burning tyres provided enough heat to stop the couple from freezing to death.
"I tried to get out. I didn’t realize I was stiff, I was just about frozen," admitted Mrs Sylvestre. "I still could move around so I got out of the truck very slowly and he (my husband) helped me out. He made me walk to the fire. And as soon as I felt that fire, that heat on my face, it was just like I woke up, you know?"
As the last of the tyres was consumed and beginning to smoulder, three people riding on snow machines spotted the smoke and radioed for help. A truck was dispatched to rescue the couple.
It is not at present known what brand or speed rating the life-saving tyres were, and it is unlikely that further information will be available until the tyres’ next of kin have been notified.