A man from the Fraser Valley died and another man was rushed to hospital by helicopter on Saturday after a pickup truck smashed through trees as it careened over an embankment on Highway 28 near Strathcona Lodge.
A one-tonne pickup truck was travelling eastbound on the Gold River Highway, roughly 34 km west of Campbell River, when it shot over the left side of the road, said Cpl. Glenn Price of North Vancouver Island Traffic Services, an RCMP traffic unit based in Campbell River.
“(The truck) hit several trees on the way down the embankment before coming to rest wedged between other trees,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.
The names of the two men haven’t been released.
The badly-injured survivor made his way from the damaged vehicle to the road, where he was able to flag down help. Police are still trying to determine the exact time when the incident occurred.
Price declined to speculate about the cause of the tragic incident, saying it was under investigation. Factors including speed, drugs and alcohol aren’t being ruled out. Police suspect the men weren’t wearing seat belts.
The BC Coroners Service confirmed the fatality on Wednesday, saying it “is in the early stages of its fact-finding investigation involving a male in his 30s from the Fraser Valley.”
BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) received a call at 8:46 a.m. on Saturday for a motor vehicle incident on the highway between Campbell River and Gold River, said BCEHS spokesperson Shannon Miller.
“Due to the nature of the incident, two paramedic ground units were dispatched and an air ambulance helicopter was auto-launched,” Miller said, referring to a rapid response procedure for airlifting patients in acute care emergencies. “The air ambulance was able to land on the highway, just a few kilometres east of Strathcona Lodge.”
One patient was transported to hospital in serious condition by air ambulance, she said.
Thomas Doherty, chief of the Campbell River Fire Department, confirmed that firefighters responded to the incident and used the jaws of life to extricate one person from the vehicle.
He declined to comment further, saying all other comment should come from the RCMP, since the accident was fatal.