Alberta Health Services confirms about 100 people were injured — one man seriously — in a multi-vehicle pileup on Highway 2 south of Edmonton, near Leduc, that occurred during a spring snowstorm which caused havoc on area highways.
Earlier in the day it had been reported that 300 people were injured, but AHS has since readjusted its numbers.
AHS said 22 patients needing medical treatment were taken to hospitals in Edmonton, Red Deer, Leduc, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Devon, Wetaskiwin, Stony Plain, Lamont and Camrose, while about 80 others were treated at the scene.
The initial crash happened around 11:30 MT in the northbound lanes of Highway 2 near the Highway 13 overpass, but caused several more collisions. ultimately involving more than 100 vehicles.
Derek Fildebrandt, who was travelling on a Red Arrow passenger bus at the time, estimated at least 200 vehicles were involved and said he saw one man with what appeared to be broken legs.
"It’s a massive, massive crash," he said. "It extended, got to be at least a few kilometres."
Fildebrandt, who is the Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said he saw vehicles go off the road.
"Cars flying off into the ditches beside us, smashing into each other on the road and in the ditches," he said. "Very little room to manoeuvre."
Police expected the clean up to last well into the night, warning motorists the highway would not open until 11 p.m. MT.
Area fire departments, Edmonton police and Edmonton Transit helped divert traffic and move stranded motorists to local fire and community halls.
At least 60 head of cattle also had to be moved from the scene after a cattle liner became entangled in the pileup.
Crash near Flatbush, Alta., kills 3
A 23-year-old woman, a four-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy were killed Thursday morning when the car they were in crashed head-on with a truck near Flatbush, roughly 150 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. Three others were seriously injured, including the driver of the truck.
Earlier reports had suggested three adults were killed in the crash.
The 46-year-old truck driver is facing several charges, including dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.
Police said highway conditions at the time of the collision were "poor due to heavy snow and low visibility."
In Edmonton alone police recorded 133 collisions Thursday, nine resulting in injuries.
Anthony Henday Drive, the major ring road encircling Edmonton, was closed Thursday afternoon for almost two hours due to near whiteout conditions.
Sections of Highway 16 west of Edmonton were closed following a number of collisions, including one which left a semi-trailer blocking several lanes.
Alberta Transportation also closed highways near the Saskatchewan border.
The Edmonton area was expected to receive about 10 centimetres of snow Thursday, but some areas received as much as 25 centimetres.
CBC meteorologist Cory Edel said the snow will last into the early morning hours Friday.