British Columbia

Good Samaritan killed in Coquihalla Highway crash stopped to help with minor accident

A 48-year-old man who died in a multi-vehicle accident on the Coquihalla Highway on Thursday had stopped to offer help to a group caught in a previous minor accident. 

The 48-year-old Salmon Arm man was pronounced dead at the scene

At least one person was killed in the collision on the Coquihalla Highway Thursday evening. (Randy Dyck)

A 48-year-old man who died in a multi-vehicle accident on the Coquihalla Highway in B.C.'s southern Interior on Thursday had stopped to help a group dealing with a minor accident. 

A small car initially collided with a northbound commercial vehicle near the Coldwater Interchange south of Merritt. No one was injured and the two drivers were exchanging information on the side of the road. 

The accident victim, from Salmon Arm, B.C., pulled over to offer assistance. 

A chain reaction of collisions followed, with two more vehicles crashing into the group. The Good Samaritan was pronounced dead at the scene after paramedics arrived around 5:30 p.m. PT.

Six people, including the driver and passenger from the first collision, were taken to hospital with injuries: two were flown by air ambulance in critical condition and another four were taken by ground ambulance in stable condition.

It's the second time in a year a passerby has been killed after stopping to help on the Coquihalla Highway.

The highway between Hope and Merritt was closed for several hours on Thursday, but has since reopened in both directions. 

Emergency crews attend a 'vehicle incident' that shut down the Coquihalla Highway in both directions for several hours Thursday. (@JoshuaKnaak/Twitter)

Joshua Knaak, who was driving from Kamloops to Vancouver, said he came across three vehicles that appeared to be involved in a collision. He said at least one appeared to be heavily damaged.

As he was near the scene, two helicopters flew in to join numerous emergency vehicles and a tow truck.

Watch as helicopters fly in and out of the crash scene on the Coquihalla Highway:

Numerous emergency vehicles responded to a deadly crash on the Coquihalla Highway Thursday evening, between Hope and Merritt. 0:29

Crews were performing chest compressions on one person, he said, and at least one person was trapped underneath a vehicle.

"We heard from everyone here that it was a very brutal scene," Knaak said, adding that he used to be a volunteer first responder. "My thoughts are certainly with them."

With files from Tina Lovgreen

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