As many as 50 homes were evacuated during a cleanup today of explosive ammonium nitrate from a truck that rolled over in a ditch north of Williams Lake, B.C.

Police said the driver of the single tractor trailer unit was taking the dangerous load to a local mine at about 6 p.m. PT Thursday when the truck veered off Highway 97 near Westcoast Road in Wildwood, B.C.

British Columbia 97 & Westcoast Rd, Cariboo D, Cariboo, British Columbia V2GHighway 97 at Westcoast Road, near Williams Lake, B.C.

The driver was pinned in the truck and was extracted and airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital with serious injuries.

Police shut down traffic in both directions on Highway 97, 14 km north of Williams Lake, and established a local detour. A nearby elementary school was also closed Friday.

The route remained closed as of 6 p.m. PT Friday while crews worked to clean up the incident.

Ammonium nitrate is hazardous to inhale or touch and can be extremely explosive when in contact with heat or an ignition source.


  • A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Highway 97 near Williams Lake was reopened at 6 p.m. PT Friday.
    Jan 18, 2013 3:30 AM PT
With files from the CBC's Wil Fundal and Marissa Harvey