British Columbia

Peace Arch border crossing reopens after fatal fiery crash

The driver of a Toyota Sienna van was pronounced dead at the scene. A second driver is in hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

WARNING: this story includes a photo of a fatal, flaming car wreck

The driver of a Toyota van was pronounced dead at the scene after a fiery crash at the Peace Arch border crossing on Thursday. (Len Saunders)

The Peace Arch border crossing has fully re-opened after a driver was killed in a fiery crash on the Canadian side near Vancouver on Thursday morning.

Surrey RCMP originally said three vehicles were involved in the collision around 11:30 a.m, but later said only two vehicles were involved. 

The driver of a Toyota Sienna van was pronounced dead at the scene, after a Porsche Cayenne SUV crashed into his vehicle and caused it to burst into flames, according to RCMP. No one else was in the van at the time of the crash.

The driver of the Porsche was taken to hospital. He is expected to survive his injuries.

One person was killed in the crash on the Canadian side of the border. A second person is in hospital. (John Kageorge)

'A big smack'

It was Mitchell Gerhardt's first day on the job doing maintenance in the park at the border, and he was tending to a flower bed when he saw the crash happen.

"It was just like a big smack. [The Porsche] jumped the curb and the van went sideways and then the Porsche kept on pushing it," he told CBC.

Gerhardt said he had to jump out of the way because the vehicles were headed straight for him.

Police say an SUV crashed into a van at the Peace Arch border crossing on Thursday, causing the van to burst into flames. (Len Saunders)

Dan Mangan, a Vancouver-based musician, was in the border lineup heading south when he saw cars veer off the road.

"A black SUV went full speed into a blue minivan ... they hit this kind of stonewall garden area at which point the blue minivan burst into flames immediately," Mangan said in a phone call. "It was just a fireball.

"A bunch of quick responding heroes, man, just ran up to the black SUV ... they pulled [the driver] out," he continued. "He came to pretty quick. He was obviously a mess."

Video from the border shows smoke from the fire

At least one vehicle burst into flames on the Canadian side of the Peace Arch border crossing after a three-vehicle crash on May 2, 2019. 0:31

Video posted on social media shows at least one vehicle on fire in a flower bed off the road, with thick black smoke going into the sky. The fire has since been extinguished.

The Peace Arch border crossing connects Surrey, B.C. to Blaine, Wash.

Video still from the Peace Arch border crossing shows dark smoke from a multi-vehicle crash on the Canadian side of the border on Thursday afternoon. (Henry Tenby/YouTube)

With files from Yvette Brend, Rhianna Schmunk, Rafferty Baker and Jesse Johnston