British Columbia

50,000 litres of fuel spilled in Salmo River from tanker crash, says province

The driver died in the crash of the twin tanker, which was carrying an estimated 40,000 litres of gas and 10,000 litres of diesel — fish have been found dead at the site.

Driver died in crash of twin tanker carrying an estimated 40,000 litres of gas, 10,000 litres of diesel

A sheen of fuel spilled in the Salmo River along Highway 3 can be seen from this aerial photograph. (Government of British Columbia)

It appears the entire contents of fuel tankers that crashed into a river in B.C.'s West Kootenay region ended up in the water.

A truck hauling two fuel tankers crashed around 8 p.m. PT Wednesday, when the vehicle missed a turn and plunged sideways down a steep embankment into the Salmo River, near Salmo. The driver, an Alberta man, died in the crash.

The twin tanker was reportedly carrying 40,000 litres of gasoline and as much as 10,000 litres of diesel.

The province's Ministry of Environment says that an estimated 50,000 litres of fuel poured out of the tankers and into the environment.

Highway 3, at the bottom of Kootenay Pass between Salmo and Creston, was closed multiple times between Wednesday and Friday to assess the crash, the spill and remove the tankers and the truck cab.

Officials say the sheen of fuel observed on the water, which on Thursday was estimated to be 14 kilometres long, is unrecoverable.

Still workers are trying to contain the fuel and skim off what they can.

Dead minnows

On Thursday, the province said around half a dozen deceased minnows were seen by a contractor. There were no reports of fish mortality on Friday.

The province says a plan is being developed to protect wildlife from the spill and to clean up the site.

Officials called the spill "significant."

The province says the person responsible for the spill is legally required to clean it up or manage the clean-up.

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