WATCH: A dump truck hit a median and burst into flames this morning on Highway 99. The road has been closed in both directions for hours. Geoff Hastings reports.
UPDATE, Jan. 30: Investigators are now blaming a blown tire for a fiery crash that killed a truck driver on Highway 99 in Delta. The RCMP want to thank those who attempted to help the driver who died in the crash and for the patience of others stuck in the traffic all day.
VANCOUVER – A fatal truck fire closed Highway 99 in both directions after a gravel truck pulling a trailer lost control and hit the centre divider on Wednesday morning. RCMP have not confirmed the identity of the victim but did confirm they died in the crash.
The truck and trailer went through the concrete centre barrier, landing on its side in the northbound lane and burst into flames. Two vehicles in the northbound lanes were damaged by the impact of the truck and trailer. Both drivers were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Witnesses tell Global News they tried to pull the driver from the cab of the gravel truck, but were unsuccessful.
“It looked like it jackknifed kind of,” said one witness. “The trailer came forward it a bit and then it just came airborne. The whole thing, truck and trailer. I think it tumbled a bit and it immediately burst into flames. Came across the barrier.”
“Lots of people tried to get the driver out but I understand they weren’t successful. He was unconscious.”
Witnesses say they could hear explosions coming from the truck. RCMP say it appears the truck, pulling a trailer, was heading northbound, lost control and crossed median. It then collided with two vehicles and flipped over. That is when the tractor detached and the truck caught fire.
The drivers of two other vehicles were also taken to hospital by the BC Ambulance Service.
The highway is open northbound but is still closed southbound. Drive BC is urging drivers to find an alternative route home tonight. The Massey Tunnel counterflow will not be implemented tonight due to the accident.
Use Highway 91 to enter and exit Delta at this time.
Wright was about half-a-mile behind the crash when it happened. “I heard the accident, it was probably about 30 cars in front of me. There was a big bang and you could see a column of smoke had already started.”