Alberta Storm

December 2, 2013 8:15 pm
Updated: December 8, 2013 3:30 pm

Alberta mother of three dies after car plunges into river near Fernie


ABOVE: Poor driving conditions are believed to be responsible for a fatal accident that killed a mother of three. But passersby came to the rescue and prevented the situation from being much worse. Francis Silvaggio reports.

A mother is dead and two of her children are fighting for their lives in hospital after a car they were in plunged in a river near Fernie.

It happened at approximately 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon on Highway 3.

Kunthea Altvater was travelling with her husband Richard and their three children to their home in Coaldale, Alberta when their Chevrolet minivan left the roadway and plunged into the Elk River.

WATCH: On scene video shows the stretch of highway where the minivan left the road and plunged into the Elk River

A passing driver and his girlfriend saw the car upside down in the river and rushed to the family’s help. They managed to pull every member of the family out of the van.

RCMP members and a traveling physician managed to revive the four-year-old child by conducting CPR.

CPR was also performed on Kunthea, but she was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

The Altvater family. Submitted.

Richard and one of his children were treated for minor injuries. One of the Good Samaritans was also treated for minor injuries including hypothermia.

The two other children were transported to Alberta Children’s Hospital by air ambulance with severe injuries.

Police say road conditions at the time of the collision were slushy due to an overnight snowfall.

Investigators say the minivan may have been attempting a pass and lost control on the slushy center area of the roadway.


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