Two people have been taken to hospital after a fiery crash at the top of Port Alberni Summit (the ‘Hump’) on Highway 4 near Port Alberni, Tuesday morning.
An SUV and a pickup truck collided head on shortly after 7 a.m. just west of the Loon Lake turnoff at the top of the Hump, heading toward Parksville.
Port Alberni Fire Dept. chief Mike Owens credits one of the accident victims with saving the life of another caught in a burning vehicle. “The pickup truck caught fire after it was impacted,” Owens said. “The driver of the SUV, which was heavily damaged, got out and climbed into the pickup truck (along with) two bystanders to pull the guy out of the truck. They saved the guy’s life.
“They’re definitely the heroes today.”
The driver of the pickup truck was trapped by his foot in the truck, Owens added.
“The fire was made more difficult because there was a rupture to the truck’s fuel tank, which was feeding the fire.”
Fire engines from Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Dept. and Port Alberni responded to the crash, as well as two ambulances from Port Alberni. Both engines used all the water they had in their trucks to extinguish the blaze.
Both drivers were single occupants in their vehicles, and both were taken to hospital, one in stable condition and one in serious condition, according to a BC Emergency Health Services spokesperson.
The BC EHS spokesperson added that two ambulances were dispatched from Port Alberni and reached the scene within 13 minutes. An off-duty paramedic specialist from the Lower Mainland was also on scene within minutes and assisted.
“There are 20 paramedic specialists in B.C. They are advanced care paramedics with additional technical training to deal with complex medical emergencies,” she added.
The accident closed Highway 4 in both directions for a couple of hours. The road was reopened shortly after 9 a.m.