July 31, 2018 2:35 am
Updated: July 31, 2018 3:36 pm

Coquihalla closed north of Hope due to crash that generated a ball of fire

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Update Tuesday a.m.: DriveBC says because of vehicle recovery efforts, there is a left-lane closure in effect on the northbound lanes of the Coquihalla Highway. The traffic slowdown is due to a multi-vehicle incident that took place between Hope and Merritt at Britton Creek, 50 kilometres north of Hope. RCMP confirm that one motorist died after the driver struck the back of one of the two tractor trailers involved in the initial crash.

Original story: 

The Coquihalla Highway remains closed north of Hope Tuesday morning after a fiery crash killed one person Monday night.

Witnesses said two vehicles collided in a ball of fire Monday at 9:30 p.m. on the Coquihalla Highway near Britton Creek, resulting in the northbound lanes being closed for some time.

DriveBC said an alternate route should be used to head to the B.C. Interior, including Highway 3 or Highway 1.

Mark and Katherine Streit watched the fireball from their vehicle.

“I’m hoping that nobody died. That’s a pretty bad accident,” Mark Streit said in a video posted to Facebook.

“Two semis evidently collided about a quarter mile ahead of us resulting in a huge fireball. We were maybe a minute behind them,” he said on the posting.

Streit said it took some time for crews to arrive at the scene of the crash near the Coquihalla Summit.

The couple said at 11 p.m., crews opened a single lane northbound for some vehicles to pass, but were unclear if the entire northbound lanes would reopen.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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