1 dead after fiery crash near Peace Arch border crossing
One person is dead following a fiery crash near the Peace Arch border crossing on Thursday, according to the RCMP.
In a statement, police said the two-vehicle collision took place at around 11:30 a.m. on Highway 99 some 300 metres north of the border.
"Once on scene, officers determined a collision had occurred between a Porsche Cayenne SUV and a Toyota Sienna van," Mounties said, adding that the Toyota minivan caught fire after the crash.
The male driver of the Toyota was pronounced dead at the scene. He was the only occupant of the minivan.
The driver of the Porsche was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He was also alone in his vehicle.
The CBSA could not confirm if the two vehicles had cleared the border for entry into Canada prior to the crash.
Video from the scene showed the vehicle engulfed in flames with a thick plume of black smoke rising from the scene. The crash also sheared off a nearby light pole.
An ambulance could be seen rushing north with its lights and sirens on as well as a police escort.
"I heard the loud boom and felt it underneath. The ground shook and I was inside the house at the time," said John Kageorge, one of many witnesses who rushed to help.
"I grabbed a fire extinguisher and was racing out to the fire when I heard a couple of pops and bangs and I think there was gunfire of some sort."
Kageorge stopped short as officials converged on the two vehicles.
Travellers like Henry Tenby were stopped in their track as they tried to cross.
"You could actually feel it," he said. "It was a hell of an explosion … I've never experienced anything like this ever and it was very, very weird."
Local musician Dan Mangan tweeted saying he witnessed the crash.
According to Mangan, an SUV was travelling at full speed when it pushed a minivan some 200 feet before the vehicle burst into flames.
"Some heroes pulled driver out of SUV but nobody got out of van," he wrote.
Police, however, have not confirmed the cause of the crash or the subsequent fire.
The Surrey RCMP's Criminal Investigation team has taken over the investigation, and the Lower Mainland Integrated Collision Analyst Reconstruction Service is also on scene.
Highway 99 was closed in both directions north of the border.
Drive BC said in a tweet at around 2:40 p.m. that the southbound lanes had reopened, but the road remained closed to northbound traffic.
As of 4 p.m. three standard lanes and two Nexus lanes were open for those looking to cross the border into the U.S.
According to the CBSA, the northbound lanes into Canada were still closed at that time and would remain closed "for some time."
According to Canada Border Services, all traffic is being rerouted to the Pacific Highway crossing until further notice.
Anyone who has information about the crash or dash cam footage from the area is asked to call Mounties at 604-599-0502 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Penny Daflos