Carnage on Coquihalla

UPDATE 8:46 a.m.

DriveBC has now opened both lanes of the Coquihalla highway. Castanet spoke with the father of a woman who had to be rescued from the crash, he wanted to remain anonymous but said he'd like to see highways closed in a proactive fashion rather than after a major accident. 

The highway was closed for more than 12 hours.

UPDATE 7:47 a.m.

Southbound lane on the Coquihalla remains closed, could open by 8 a.m.

A tweet from the wife of one of the bus passengers says it all.

UPDATE 6:54 a.m.

First responders and highways crews worked through the night east of Vancouver, helping 165 victims involved in a multi-vehicle pileup on an icy stretch of the Coquihalla Highway.

British Columbia's Provincial Health Services Authority says 29 of those people were hospitalized and range from stable to critical condition following the six vehicle crash that happened about 8 p.m. Sunday.

Spokesperson Amy Robertson says two buses, two transport trucks and two passenger vehicles collided near the bottom of a hill just north of Hope, about 150 kilometres east of Vancouver.

A tweet from a passenger on one bus said it slid into a transport truck and the other vehicles could not avoid the wreckage.

Another described seeing the second bus flipped in the ditch and waiting for hours to be taken to safety at a high school in Hope.

Members of the Hope Search and Rescue team joined several area fire departments and Chilliwack Search and Rescue workers at the scene.

The Hope group posted photos of the collision showing two transport trucks twisted together across the highway, with one cab partially down an embankment while the truck's rear wheels rested on another mangled vehicle.

The accident forced the closure of the Coquihalla in both directions between Hope and Merritt for about seven hours, but traffic was moving northbound early Monday.

UPDATE 5:26 a.m.

A pileup on British Columbia's Coquihalla highway has sent 29 people to hospital in conditions the Provincial Health Services Authority says range from stable to critical.

Spokesperson Amy Robertson says the crash just north of Hope, B.C. was reported Sunday around 8 p.m. local time and involved six vehicles — two transport trucks, two buses and two passenger vehicles.

Robertson says the injured were transported by air and ground ambulances to hospital, while another 136 people who were not hurt were taken to a warming centre in Hope.

The accident forced the closure of the Coquihalla in both directions between Hope and Merritt for about seven hours.

Drive BC tweeted early this morning that the highway had since been reopened to northbound traffic, but there was no estimate on when the southbound lanes would be cleared.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash.

UPDATE: 10:45 p.m.

B.C. Emergency Health Services has confirmed seven people are in hospital in serious condition following the crash.

Roughly 70 uninjured people were taken by bus to a warming centre.

Paramedics remain on scene with at least one other patient.

The crash involved two transport trucks, two buses and two personal vehicles.

UPDATE: 9:50 p.m.

Current reports indicate around 40 people are injured in the crash, which took place just after 8 p.m. Sunday night.

There are still no indications of when the highway will reopen.

UPDATE: 9:20 p.m.

A Castanet reader on board the crashed Greyhound bus has sent his account of the incident involving several semi trucks that has shut down the Coquihalla Sunday evening.

"We just came over a hill and could see [a semi] ahead of us and couldn't stop and we just smashed into a semi and a car and then we had to just sit and watch as more semis came over the hill and brace ourselves for impact," wrote the reader.

"The first couple semis intentionally missed us and ended up rolling off the road so we only took impact from their trailers," the reader added.

The reader also claims the bus hasn't moved because there is a car underneath the bus with a man trapped inside, though this has not been confirmed by authorities.

Reports now indicate up to four semi trucks may have been involved in the crash.

UPDATE: 9:05 p.m.

B.C. Emergency Health Services has confirmed that "multiple ground and air units have been dispatched" to the scene of the crash near Othello Road. 

CTV Vancouver reports that 22 ground and air ambulances have headed to the location.

Reports indicate the crash involved a Greyhound bus and two semis.

The section of the Coquihalla between Hope and Merritt remains closed in both directions.

This portion of Highway 5 was the subject of a travel advisory for dangerous weather conditions earlier today.

UPDATE: 8:45 p.m.

The Coquihalla is now closed in both directions between Hope and Merritt.

No estimated time of reopening is available. 

ORIGINAL: 8:25 p.m.

A multi-vehicle incident involving a Vancouver-bound Greyhound bus has occurred on Highway 5 between Hope and Merritt. 

A Castanet reader's daughter was on board a bus travelling from Kelowna to Vancouver Sunday evening when the incident occurred.

She said the bus was struck several times by other vehicles during the crash, and is now partially in the ditch, but nobody on board appears to have been hurt.

DriveBC tweeted shortly after that the incident had occurred near Othello Road by exit 183.

Highway 5 is now closed southbound at Othello Road, with no estimated time of reopening.

More updates to come as information becomes available. 

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