One person is believed to be dead after a tanker truck hauling flammable liquid struck the Sikani River Bridge along Hwy 97 approximately 200km north of Fort St. John on Thursday (Aug. 25).
In a news release, Fort St. John RCMP said the collision occurred just after 8:30 p.m. Fire departments from Fort St. John and Fort Nelson attended the scene and found the tanker completely engulfed in flames emitting a large plume of toxic smoke. RCMP say they believe the driver died in the collision, but a definitive search of the scene has not yet been conducted.
The cause of the collision is under investigation, but RCMP believe the explosion occurred after the truck collided with a barrier on the bridge and caught fire. Fort St. John RCMP have notified both Worksafe BC and the BC Coroner service about the incident.
Highway 97 was immediately shut down completely in the area due to the fire and the smoke said Sgt. Chris Manseau, acting senior media relations officer for the BC RCMP
BC Wildfire has been notified as adjoining brush has caught fire from this collision and subsequent fire
Highway 97 remains closed and there is no anticipated time for reopening. DriveBC says the next update is expected at 6 p.m. mountain time.
Travelers passing through the area are being advised to plan alternative routes, and remain in contact with those who may be anticipating their arrival, as many will be delayed due to this collision. This area is remote with little to no cell service, and it may be difficult to get information advising of their delays.