Castlegar first responders were busy Tuesday afternoon.
Two calls came in within minutes of each other around 3:44 p.m.
The first was for a two-vehicle accident on Highway 3 West.
“At about 3:44 p.m. there was a complaint of a two-vehicle collision approximately four kilometres west of Castlegar,” said Cpl. Jason Olney of the Castlegar RCMP. “A vehicle travelling westbound up the hill tried to pass a tractor-trailer that was stuck on the road and as he was passing, the other vehicle coming east-bound wasn’t able to stop and the collided.”
Olney said speed didn’t seem to be a factor, but the smaller vehicle was sent into the ditch and down a 50- to 60-foot embankment, rolling and coming to rest on its roof.
The Castlegar and Ootischenia fire departments were on scene, along with RCMP and BC Ambulance, and used the Jaws of Life and rope rescue gear to extract the occupant of the vehicle, who was trapped.
“To get down there posed a bit of a challenge … because we had to get our tools down there,” said Sam Lattanzio, Castlegar fire chief.
Firefighters descended with a basket stretcher loaded with the necessary equipment and tools, including the Jaws of Life, a pump and blocking.
“Once they got down there, they were able to open the vehicle up, remove the door and assist the ambulance attendant that was down there to do an assessment on him and we brought him up to the road,” said Lattanzio.
The second accident was reported within minutes of the first and involved a semi-trailer truck and a snowplow in the Bombi Pass.
“It was a truck travelling eastbound up the hill towards the Bombi Summit and the snowplow working in the area was coming back onto the highway from a runaway lane and didn’t see the truck. The semi truck going eastbound wasn’t able to stop in time and there was a strike of both vehicles, which sent the semi truck towards the embankment,” said Olney.
The semi-trailer truck went partially off-road, and down the embankment.
Olney said no one in either incident was seriously injured.
Trail first responders were also called to an accident scene early Tuesday evening after there was a four-vehicle collision near the Genelle Bluffs.
Trail RCMP received the call at 5:21 p.m. and attended along with BC Ambulance and the Trail Fire Department.
A silver Ford Escape travelling north-bound lost control on the road and did a 360, according to Sgt. Darren Oelke of the Trail RCMP. A black Mazda travelling behind the Escape struck it, sending it into the opposing lane, where it was then struck by a Dodge pickup truck travelling southbound. The Dodge went into the ditch and a second pickup drove into the ditch to avoid a collision with the Escape.
“Speeds were all relatively low as in the 45 to 60 kilometres an hour range, the roads were very poor at the time and only minor injuries,” said Oelke.
The sergeant credits the fact that no one was seriously hurt by the fact that all four drivers were driving at speeds appropriate to the road conditions.
The cause is still under investigation.