Flying logs from a truck that lost its load on the Trans-Canada Highway in West Vancouver yesterday crushed vehicles in a traffic nightmare that killed two people and injured four others.
The accident left the highway closed in both directions and forced drivers to seek out detours as dozens of firefighters and rescue workers sought to free people from vehicles that had been nearly flattened by the deadly logs.
West Vancouver police said the accident happened at about 2:30 in the afternoon.
Two logging trucks were travelling west on a section of the highway when one lost its load.
The logs tumbled into oncoming traffic in the eastbound lanes, striking at least five other vehicles.
One woman at the scene told CTV News other drivers immediately ran to help.
"It was not a very pleasant sight," she said. "We did the best we could. Two of them got out and they were coherent.
"We stabilized them as well as we could.
"A number of passersby just stopped. It was quite amazing. People just jumped in and did everything they could."
Police confirmed two fatalities and said four people were taken to hospital with undisclosed injuries.
None of those injuries are believed to be life-threatening, the police said.
The two people killed, believed to be a driver and a passenger, were in the first vehicle to be hit by the logs. An injured passenger in one other car had to be cut out from the vehicle by rescue workers.
The truck was owned by Chalwood Forest Products of Port Alberni, B.C.
Last night, business office manager Judy Chalifour said the truck's driver, who survived the accident, was Perry Pelletier.
Ms. Chalifour, sounding shaken, said Mr. Pelletier had been with Chalwood for about seven months and had 17 years of driving experience.
"He's got a good driving record and hasn't had any accidents that we know of," said Ms. Chalifour, whose husband manages the company.
She said the truck was on its way to the ferry in Horseshoe Bay and from there would have gone to Vancouver Island to deliver logs to a mill in Port Alberni.
The route was well-known to Mr. Pelletier, she said
"He's been going back and forth now for seven months, five days a week."
Police investigators and commercial-vehicle inspectors were at the scene last night and the highway remained closed.
Some bystanders speculated that speed may have been a factor.
Area resident Tom Deeth told reporters the accident happened on a tight corner.