A family trip to Vancouver became a tragedy on Thursday morning when the family's car crashed into a tractor trailer, and both vehicles burst into flames.

Police said a Kia Sorrento was going southbound on Highway 97, about five kilometers north of McLeese Lake, when it crossed the center line and collided head on with a northbound semi.

Greg Foster, the owner of a nearby pub, witnessed the aftermath of the crash.

"The cab was totally burned, the trailer had already burned," he said. "The whole area was still smoldering."

All five people in the SUV were from Prince George and died upon impact, said RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Madonna Saunderson. The driver of the tractor trailer, from Surrey, was uninjured, but he was taken to the Williams Lake Hospital as a precaution.

Among the dead was 40-year-old Matt Altizer, who was the systems manager at the Prince George Citizen newspaper. With him were his wife Leah, their two children Jonathan and Emily, and one other person.

Colleen Sparrow, the interim publisher of the Prince George Citizen, said the family was on its way to Vancouver to fulfill Altizer's lifelong dream: to see the Davis Cup.

"It's a huge loss, it's an unbelievable loss," said Sparrow. "Sometimes they'll tell you that people are replaceable, but I don't think he is."

Saunderson said police are still investigating why the Kia crossed the centre line. Originally, police said the the roads at the time of the accident were bare and dry with good visibility. 

"However, further investigation has revealed that the roads were bare and wet," Saunderson said in a written statement on Friday.

An expert from the Identification and Disaster Response Unit is expected to be in Williams lake later on Friday. BC Coroner's Office will also be bringing in a specialist to assist with the forensic identification.  

Anyone who may have information are asked to contact the RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

With files from CTV British Columbia's Nafeesa Karim.