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Alberta man dead, ‘significant’ amount of fuel spilled into B.C. river after Kootenay Pass crash

An Alberta man is dead and a significant amount of fuel has spilled into the Salmo River after a crash in Kootenay Pass.
An Alberta man is dead and a significant amount of fuel has spilled into the Salmo River after a crash in Kootenay Pass. File / Global News

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story quoted the Ministry of Environment saying the truck had crashed into the Pend D’Oreille River. In fact, the truck has crashed into the south Salmo River. 

One person is dead and a “significant” amount of fuel has spilled into the Salmo River after a fuel truck crash.

According to the RCMP, police were called to the collision on Highway 3 at the bottom of Kootenay Pass around 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday.

“Investigators were hampered by a significant fuel spill in the Salmo River, but have confirmed the driver of the vehicle from Alberta was the lone occupant and he is deceased,” said Sgt. Chad Badry with RCMP West Kootenay Traffic Services.

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MV Marathassa fuel spill cost recovery effort stalled
MV Marathassa fuel spill cost recovery effort stalled

It’s not known where in Alberta the man is from.

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The Ministry of Environment says says the tractor trailer and two linked tankers filled with diesel and gasoline crashed into the south Salmo River, about two kilometres east of the Highway 3 and Highway 6 junction.

READ MORE: Residents near Lemon Creek fuel spill say cleanup efforts not enough

It says the tankers have been compromised and an unknown amount of fuel has spilled.

An environmental response officer is on scene and vacuum trucks and spill response equipment has been deployed, said the Ministry.

The Regional District of the Central Kootenay (RDCK) said it is monitoring the situation, and that it will notify the public if water sources are affected or communities are threatened.

Residents can find updates on the RDCK’s website and Facebook page.

Highway 3 is closed from south of Salmo to West Creston due to a fatal crash and fuel spill.
Highway 3 is closed from south of Salmo to West Creston due to a fatal crash and fuel spill. DriveBC

Police said Highway 3 Kootenay Pass was closed and would remain so while crews conduct an environmental emergency response and assess the safety of the area.

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The route is estimated to remain closed until at least noon on Friday.

READ MORE: Evacuation order for thousands in Slocan Valley after jet fuel spill in Lemon Creek

Drivers headed to the area are advised to check DriveBC, and are being referred to the Balfour Ferry as an alternative route.

Anyone with information is asked to contact RCMP West Kootenay Traffic Services.