The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says its thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims of Friday’s rockfall incident on Highway 1 in the Kicking Horse Canyon.
“This was a tragic incident, likely related to freeze/thaw conditions that can happen frequently at this time of year. While within boundaries of the Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 project, an initial assessment of the site indicates this rockfall occurred in a location outside of the current work zone,” read a statement issued to Castanet.
MOTI notes that rockfall is a hazard along many B.C. highways and staff and resources are dedicated to identifying, prioritizing and mitigating the hazards. It says the work in the Kicking Horse Canyon is intended to dramatically reduce the risk in the future.
ORIGINAL 1:55 p.m.
Police have confirmed a person died in a rockfall on the Trans Canada Highway near Golden on Friday.
Emergency crews were called to the incident on 3:50 p.m. in Kicking Horse Canyon. One person was rushed to hospital with critical injuries, passing away the following day.
According to a witness, a passenger in a white Jeep was hit by a falling boulder. A second woman who got out of her vehicle to help was then hit when another vehicle tried to pass.
“We saw the cars slowing down and I saw people jumping out of their car and pointing up. I thought an animal had fallen down, I wasn’t really sure,” the witness said.
“We sat there for about five minutes and then we saw — and this was the most horrifying — we saw an SUV pull out, and he crushed a woman who was outside her car, between another car. He crushed her in slow motion. She was screaming, I started screaming, everyone was screaming.”
The condition of the second woman, who was hit by the vehicle, is not known, although police says there has only been one death.
The highway was closed for approximately two hours while emergency crews worked to clear the scene.