Update 10:30 am
Picture Hope SAR
The southbound lanes of the Coquihalla Highway from the Othello turnoff to Hope reopened just after 8:30 this morning after last evening’s major accident.
Twenty-nine people were hurt when two buses, two semi-trailers and two private vehicles collided.
Some of those who were injured were listed in critical condition.
Constable Mike Halskov with BC RCMP Traffic Services says investigators haven’t determined the exact cause, but the road was not in good shape.
“It doesn’t appear that driver impairment was a factor at all. Thankfully, it was just winter driving conditions. At night time on the Coquihalla in sort of a remote location. Probably snowing or compact snow and slippery conditions on the highway.”
A passenger on one of the buses tweeted the bus slid into one of the big trucks and the other vehicles couldn’t stop.
Constable Halskov says it took a combined effort from several agencies to handle the recovery effort.
“There were multiple emergency services agencies that responded to this collision and they demonstrated excellent inter-agency cooperation in order to locate everybody involved and to ensure any injured people received medical care as soon as possible.”
That included the use of search dogs to look for anyone who may have been thrown from one of the buses that went over an embankment.
He says this kind of accident is not something they normally train for.
“Being that we often work together in smaller scenes on a frequent basis, at collision scenes, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from each other. It just multiplied when we have a crash of this kind of significance.”
Constable Halskov says anyone traveling the Coquihalla over the winter have to be prepared for a sudden change in weather conditions and drive
as the road conditions allow.
The southbound lanes of the Coquihalla Highway remain closed southbound at Othello after a 6 vehicle crash last evening that sent 29 people to hospital.
Emergency Health Services says they are listed in stable to critical condition.
It involved two buses, two semi-trailers and two other vehicles at 8 pm..
It’s not clear what started the accident but the two semi-trailers and one bus wound up off the road over a slight embankment.
One of the buses was a Greyhound heading from Kelowna to Vancouver.
It was carrying 50 passengers plus the driver and Greyhound says one person suffered minor injuries.
One hundred and 36 people were taken to a warming centre in Hope for the night.
The Southbound lanes of the highway remain closed until further noltice