UPDATE (as of 10am Sunday) – Highway is open to light duty pickups, cars, RV’s and travel trailers. The bridge remains single lane alternating traffic. Obey signs and traffic control. For updates on when commercial traffic will be allowed across the bridge, visit www.drivebc.ca
PINK MOUNTAIN, B.C. — Fort St. John RCMP was contacted Thursday evening and advised that a tanker trucker carrying a large amount of flammable liquid had been involved in a collision on the Sikanni River Bridge along Highway 97.
RCMP officers from Fort St. John and fire departments from Fort St. John and Fort Nelson attended and reportedly found the tanker completely engulfed and emitting a large plume of toxic smoke.
The RCMP believes that the truck driver perished in the collision, but a search of the scene has not yet been possible due to the hazards.
Although still preliminary, it is also believed by RCMP that the commercial vehicle collided with a barrier on the bridge and then caught fire.
The cause of the collision is still under investigation.
Highway 97 was immediately shut down completely in the area due to the fire and the smoke,” said Sergeant Chris Manseau, Acting Senior Media Relations Officer for the BC RCMP.
BC Forestry wildfire has been notified as adjoining brush has caught fire from this collision and subsequent fire.”
The Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service (ICARS) and BC highway patrol members have been notified and are currently headed to the scene.
Police Dog Services (PDS) have also been contacted to search the area.
“Hwy 97 remains closed with no anticipated timeline for re-opening. An engineer has been contacted and will attend today to examine the bridge structure prior to its re-opening,” added Manseau.
The RCMP advises travellers passing through to plan alternative routes and remain in contact with those expecting them.
The RCMP warns this area is remote with little to no cell service, and it may be difficult to get information advising of delays.
Fort St. John RCMP reportedly notified Worksafe BC and the BC Coroner service.
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