West Kelowna  

Semi truck driver dies in crash on Highway 97C

Hwy open after fatal crash

UPDATE 6:25 p.m.

Highway 97C is now open in both directions at Loon Lake, reports DriveBC.

UPDATE 4:18 p.m.

DriveBC has pushed the opening to 8 p.m. PDT

UPDATE 1:00 p.m.

DriveBC now estimates time of reopening as 6:00 PM PDT.

UPDATE 10:35 a.m.

RCMP and the BC Coroners Service remain on the scene of Wednesday's crash on Highway 97C that has claimed one life.

The collision, involving two semi-tractor trailer units, occurred a short time after 9 p.m. near the Loon Lake exit.

"Preliminary findings at the crash scene suggests that a B-Train semi-tractor trailer unit, fully loaded with lumber, had been parked stationary and unoccupied, while awaiting a tow truck after becoming disabled when it was struck from behind, says RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey

"Tragically the operator of the second commercial vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene. Emergency crews were unable to extract that operator before the commercial vehicle became fully engulfed in flames."

Flames spread to the stationary semi and threatened nearby forests. RCMP officers on scene secured the site overnight and monitored the fire.

Westbound lanes of the highway remain closed while both vehicles continue to smolder.

The wreckage will be removed once its considered safe to do so.

DriveBC suggests the route could reopen around 5 p.m.

If you witnessed this crash and have not yet spoken to police, or you have dash camera footage of the collision, you are asked to call the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.

UPDATE 8:30 a.m.

Highway 97C, the Okanagan Connector remains closed to westbound traffic.

The highway was closed sometime before 10 p.m. Wednesday evening following a serious collision at Loon Lake Road, 34km west of Pennask Summit.

DriveBC estimates it may be noon before the route reopens to traffic.

UPDATE 10:45 p.m.

DriveBC is reporting westbound traffic on Highway 97C is closed due to the crash.

The closure about 34 km west of Pennask Summit at Loon Lake Rd.

No detour or estimated time of reopening is available.

ORIGINAL 9:40 p.m.

Highway 97C near the Loon Lake rest stop is closed due to a serious collision.

A Castanet reader sent photos showing a two-truck pile up, with one on fire on the highway.

DriveBC said it's assessing the situation and that drivers should expect delays.

This post will be updated if more information become available.

More West Kelowna News