2 dead, 1 in critical condition after crash closes Interior B.C. highway

Two men are dead and a woman is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after a serious collision Saturday morning on the main route through B.C.'s Southern Interior.

RCMP identify victims as 59-year-old man from Edmonton and 51-year-old man from Cranbrook

A crash closed the Crowsnest Highway south of Cranbrook, B.C. for much of Saturday. One person was taken to hospital in critical condition. (Submitted)

Two men are dead and a woman is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after a serious collision Saturday morning on the main route through B.C.'s Southern Interior. 

The crash also killed two horses in a trailer, Creston RCMP said.

Highway 3 and Highway 95 were closed south of Cranbrook, between Moyie and Yahk on Saturday due to the collision, but Highway 3 reopened to single lane alternating traffic around 5 p.m. PT. Officials say to expect delays due to congestion.

Victims from Edmonton, Cranbrook

RCMP said they received a call at around 9 a.m. Saturday about a serious collision on Highway 3 and 95, also known as the Crowsnest Highway. 

A westbound tractor trailer lost control on black ice, jack-knifed and veered into the oncoming lane, said Cpl. Ryan Bacica.

The tractor trailer collided head-on with a eastbound pickup truck towing a horse trailer. 

B.C. Emergency Health Services says four ground ambulances and one air ambulance responded.

The driver of the tractor trailer — a 59-year-old man from Edmonton — was ejected and died on scene. 

The pickup truck driver — a 51-year-old male from Cranbrook — was trapped and died on scene.

Responders extricated a trapped female passenger from the pickup truck and transported her to Cranbrook Hospital with serious life-threatening injuries. The woman was later airlifted to Kelowna Hospital. 

'It was just like a skating rink'

Creston resident Bill Truscott said he and his wife were the first to arrive on the scene, shortly after 9 a.m.

Truscott said the weather was clear, but the road surface was covered in ice and had not been sanded.

"On the northbound lane of the road, it was just like a skating rink," Truscott said. "You could hardly stand on it."

RCMP cited icy roads and excessive speed as contributing factors in the crash. Police also said the driver of the tractor trailer was not wearing a seatbelt.

RCMP East Kootenay Traffic Services and an RCMP collision reconstructionist have taken over the investigation. 

Highway 3 and 95, the main route through B.C.'s Southern Interior, is closed due to a collision Saturday morning. Four ground ambulances and one air ambulance responded. (Google Maps)