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3 people from Saskatoon killed in fiery multi-vehicle crash in central Alberta

Click to play video: 'Three people killed in Alberta crash were from Saskatoon' Three people killed in Alberta crash were from Saskatoon
WATCH: Global News has confirmed three people killed in a crash in eastern Alberta were from Saskatoon. Christa Dao has more on how friends are remembering one couple. – Aug 22, 2019

Alberta RCMP have confirmed the three people killed in a fiery crash near Cereal, Alta., on Tuesday were all from Saskatchewan, and Global News has learned two of the victims were a well-loved couple from Saskatoon.

Three adults were killed and 10 other people injured when at least 10 vehicles — including two semi-trucks hauling fuel — crashed in a construction zone along Highway 9 in central Alberta. In addition to the three people killed, two were critically injured and airlifted to hospital, and eight others were either treated at the scene or taken to local hospitals.

READ MORE: 3 people killed in multi-vehicle crash involving fuel-laden trucks on Hwy. 9

Nanfang Zhao and Qiaoqin Yang were seen embracing at the crash scene on Thursday morning. The Saskatoon couple made the journey to pay their respects to their friends who died.

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Friends of a Saskatoon couple killed in a crash near Cereal, Alta., embrace as they pay their respects at the crash site. Global News

The couple, who did not want to release the names of their friends who were killed, said they were well-known and heavily involved in the Saskatoon Chinese community.

“We knew them almost 20 years,” Yang said through tears.

“On behalf of the Chinese community, thanks for their contributions to the community. We are so sad to hear the bad news. We all love them and remember them, we just pray God to bless their kids.”

Yang said the couple had two children, one of whom was injured in the crash and remained in hospital.

RCMP confirmed on Thursday evening that the couple had an adult daughter who was one of two people airlifted from the crash scene in critical condition.

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Qiaoqin Yang and Nanfang Zhao, friends of a Saskatoon couple killed in a crash near Cereal, Alta., visited the crash site on Thursday, Aug. 22. Global News

“We drive on this road very often. We’re supposed to be very safe,” Zhao said.

“But I don’t know what happened, maybe all the drivers should be more careful on this road. It’s a big tragedy, so many people died here and a lot of people were injured.”

The third person killed was in a separate vehicle from the Saskatoon couple and their daughter, RCMP said.

READ MORE: Dad speaks about Alberta crash that killed son: ‘If there was one person I knew ready to be an angel, it was him’

What led to the crash, which was “consumed with flames” after the semi-truck hauling fuel burst into flames, is still under investigation and RCMP say it could take months to get to the bottom of it.

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Smoke billows from a multi-vehicle crash on Highway 9 in central Alberta. Submitted
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Emergency officials on the scene of a fatal crash on Highway 9 in central Alberta. Submitted
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Smoke billows from a multi-vehicle crash on Highway 9 in central Alberta. Submitted
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The aftermath of a deadly crash west of Cereal, Alta., on Aug. 20, 2019. Michael King/Global News
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The aftermath of a deadly crash west of Cereal, Alta., on Aug. 20, 2019. Michael King/Global News
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The aftermath of a deadly multi-vehicle crash on Highway 9 west of the village of Cereal, Alta. The crash happened at around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019. Global News
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The aftermath of a deadly multi-vehicle crash on Highway 9 west of the village of Cereal, Alta. Global News
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Emergency crews were on scene late into the evening after a fatal crash on Highway 9, west of Cereal, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019.​. Global News
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One person was killed and several others injured in a multi-vehicle crash near Cereal, Alberta on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Contributed
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One person was killed and several others injured in a multi-vehicle crash near Cereal, Alberta on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Contributed
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One person was killed and several others injured in a multi-vehicle crash near Cereal, Alberta on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Contributed

Tuesday’s crash marked the second fatal collision in two weeks along the same highway stretch and within the same construction zone. A young boy was killed and four other members of this family were injured in a multi-vehicle crash on Aug. 7.

Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver said Wednesday his department would be investigating whether anything could be done to make the road — which is a main travel route between Alberta and Saskatchewan — safer.

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“We’re concerned about the safety on every road in Alberta every single day,” he said.

— With files from Global News’ Christa Dao

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