4 dead, 6 injured after van and truck collide on southern Alberta highway
CALGARY -- Four people are dead and six people have been transported to hospital following a Friday morning crash on Highway 36, north of the town of Taber, that involved a construction crew heading to work at a solar plant near Vauxhall.
Emergency crews responded shortly after 7 a.m. to a location on the highway just south of the intersection with Highway 875 following reports of a head-on collision near the Old Man River crossing.
"A southbound pickup truck had collided with a northbound passenger van," said Cpl. Deanna Fontaine of the Southern Alberta District RCMP. "The lone occupant of the truck, the driver of the van and two passengers of the van were pronounced deceased and six other occupants of the van have been assessed on scene by EMS and transported to various hospitals."
The driver of the truck was a 31-year-old man from Saskatoon, while the driver of the van was a 26-year-old man from Camrose. The passengers killed in the van were a 25-year-old man from Edmonton and a 29-year-old man from Medicine Hat. No names have been released.
EMS officials confirm STARS Air Ambulance and HALO Air Ambulance helicopter crews were deployed to the area to transport patients as well as EMS ground crews from Vauxhall, Taber, Coaldale and Brooks.
STARS Air Ambulance confirms a man in his late-20s was airlifted to the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary in serious but stable condition. Two of the five other passengers taken to hospital suffered life-threatening injuries and the remaining three sustained non-life threatening injuries.
Highway 36 was closed for several hours between the towns of Vauxhall and Taber, however the road was re-opened about 2:30 p.m. The crash occurred approximately 20 kilometres north of the Taber townsite.
Belectric Canada Solar Inc., the company that is constructing the solar plant facility, confirms that members of the construction crew were involved in the crash.
"We offer our deepest condolences to the families, friends and co-workers of all those impacted by today’s tragic events," said Christine Lewington, managing director of Belectric Canada Solar Inc. in a statement sent to CTV News Friday afternoon. "We express our appreciation to all of the first responders and emergency personnel from across the region including STARS and HALO."
Belectric will be offering counselling and support to our employees, contractors and service providers. We will support our contractors and service providers as they assist the RCMP with their investigation.
CTV has learned the crew in the van was driving from their accommodations in Taber to the work site at the Prairie Sunlight II Solar Project near Vauxhall. Approximately seven vans full of workers make the trip from Taber to the site and back to Taber each workday.
The construction crews that were not involved in Friday's crash have returned to Taber for the remainder of the day.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Taber is about 50 kilometres east of Lethbridge.