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2 dead after nearly 200-vehicle crash on Highway 15 near Montreal

Major multi-vehicle crash involving nearly 200 cars outside Montreal
WATCH: Major multi-vehicle crash involving nearly 200 cars outside Montreal

Two people are dead and at least 40 others are injured after a major crash on Highway 15 in La Prairie outside of Montreal on Wednesday.

The crash involved about 200 vehicles, including 15 trucks.

Sûreté du Québec (SQ) police confirmed that the two deaths are the people who remained stuck in their vehicle for several hours after the crash. Authorities had trouble accessing the victims due to a diesel spill that they were working to clean up before getting to them.

Police could not confirm the age or sex of the victims.

A code orange was declared at three nearby hospitals to accommodate the influx of patients, according to Health Minister Danielle McCann.

Transport Minister François Bonnardel said 50 vehicles were completely destroyed and 75 required towing following the crash, which spanned over one kilometre of the highway.

He blamed a sudden gust of wind from the St. Lawrence River for causing the whiteout that led to the pileup in the area.

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SQ said the incident happened around 12:15 p.m. on the southbound highway between the Matte and Montcalm exits.

Police confirmed that there are multiple injuries, including several serious ones, but could not confirm the exact number. McCann could also not provide more details.

A school bus transporting children was involved in the crash but authorities say no one on board was injured. Police said buses were sent to evacuate stranded drivers and passengers.

Highway 15 remains completely closed in both directions in the area.

Bonnardel said the situation is alarming but that this section of the highway has not been deemed dangerous.

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