Deadly pileup, icy hwy

UPDATE: 11 p.m.

The highway is now open northbound and southbound, according to Drive BC.

UPDATE: 10:30 p.m.

RCMP have confirmed one person died as a result of a multi-car crash on the Coquihalla Highway, south of Merritt.

Emergency responders were initially called to a single car crash, but as the driver and lone occupant on the crashed vehicle exited, her vehicle was hit by a northbound Jeep. As a result of the second collision, the female was declared deceased at the scene.

An arriving RCMP vehicle was also rear ended by a northbound vehicle while the officer was outside of the cruiser. At least four other vehicles were involved in secondary collisions, according to the Merritt RCMP

Police say the roads at the crash scene were covered in slush as a result of sudden snowfall. Injuries as a result of the secondary collision, 10 according to Interior Health, are believed not to be life threatening.

The highway remains closed to northbound traffic, with Drive BC estimating it will reopen at 11 p.m.

UPDATE: 9:15 p.m.

The Highway has been reopened to southbound traffic. Northbound remains closed, with an expected time of opening at 10 p.m.

UPDATE: 7:25 p.m.

The crash on the Coquihalla Highway has caused a one hour delay in the start of the Western Hockey League playoff game between the Blazers and Kelowna Rockets in Kamloops.

The game has been delayed to allow the officiating crew time to get to the game.

UPDATE: 7:05 p.m.

Interior Health officials have confirmed that five people arrived at Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre in Merritt and five others were transported to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

They all arrived with varying degrees of injuries.

Highway 5 remains closed in both directions. DriveBC expects the road to reopen at 10 p.m.

Castanet will continue to provide updates.

UPDATE: 4 p.m.

Highway 5 is closed in both directions near Merritt after two collisions, just one kilometre of each other, involving at least nine vehicles.

There are reports that multiple people are injured and paramedics were seen helping an injured man on the hill beside the highway.

"Some men were waving at us warning something was up ahead," said a witness who drove by the scene.

"It was just around a corner in a blind spot, which is likely how so many ended up being involved in it in the first place," she said.

As they continued to drive, they saw another accident on the other side of the highway.

"Just before we witnessed the multiple accident on our side, the weather had been good and the roads were clear and dry," she said.

"Then boom we hit fog, slush and a wall of heavy wet snow."

Southbound traffic is being directed to exit 286 and northbound traffic to Hope. Highway 3 or Highway 8 to Highway 1 is being used as a detour.

Estimated time of the highway reopening is 10 p.m.

ORIGINAL: 3:40 p.m.

At least nine vehicles have been involved in two collisions on the Coquihalla Summit Sunday.

Paramedics arrived on scene around 3:30 p.m. near Merritt.

A witness from the scene said the two collisions occurred about one kilometre apart from each other.

“Reports of a highway closure south of Merritt due to a vehicle incident, expect delays assessment in progress,” said Drive BC on Twitter.

An RCMP vehicle along with many other vehicles can be seen from photographs of the incident.

There are reports that multiple people are injured but police have not confirmed any injuries. 

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