A multi-vehicle accident on Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) between Hope and Summit that involved 13 vehicles shut down traffic for hours, but resulted in no critical injuries.
Twelve ambulances, including two air ambulances, were called to the accident just before 2:30 p.m. this afternoon.
Traffic was at a stand-still on the highway near Box Canyon, about 50 kilometres east of Hope, but southbound traffic was reopened at 9:45 p.m.
Seven people were taken to hospital, with one person in serious condition transported via air helicopter, and the rest in stable condition.
Multiple witnesses say the accident involved a semi-truck that lost control.
“It looked like a war zone,” witness Lori-Anne Forrest told Global News.
“We had just stopped, [the truck] was still smoking, he had just stopped and there were already people out of their cars, people out, people down on the ground.”
Norm Draeger, a witness, told CFJC in Kamloops:
“The traffic stopped because of construction, going westbound, it looks like he lost his brakes, and hit 20-30 cars. There was wrecked vehicles all over, people all over the road. It was just a mess.”
According to witnesses, the highway was already down to one lane due to construction. Vehicles that were backed up already were hit when the semi lost control.
“Traffic was backed up due to construction…and it looked like a truck or a trailer might have lost its brakes and just basically plowed through the standing lineup of vehicles. There were vehicles just smashed and wrecked, shrapnel all over the road, people on the road being tended to…it’s pretty devastating,” added Draeger.
Joey Kenward, play-by-play announcer for the Vancouver Canucks was also on the scene when the accident happened.
“There were multiple accident locations within the next 500 to 1000 metres behind it…It’s as long of a backup as I’ve ever seen on the Coquihalla for any accident of any kind.”
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.