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One dead after fiery Okanagan Connector crash between two semis

DriveBC estimates road won’t be open until 5 p.m.

A fiery collision between two semis on the Okanagan Connector killed one person, Wednesday night.

The crash happened on Highway 97C, near the Loon Lake exit. The westbound lanes of the highway have been closed since 9 p.m., when an off-duty RCMP officer spotted the collision and called for emergency crews.

RCMP say initial findings at the scene suggest one semi, fully loaded with lumber, was unoccupied, parked and awaiting a tow truck when it was struck from behind by another commercial vehicle.

“Tragically the operator of the second commercial vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey of the Southeast District RCMP.

“Emergency crews were unable to extract that operator before the commercial vehicle became fully engulfed in flames.”

The flames spread to the other truck, threatening nearby vegetation.

The westbound lanes of Highway 97C remain closed this morning as the vehicles continue to smoulder. DriveBC estimates the road won’t reopen until 5 p.m. today.

Merritt RCMP and the B.C. Coroners Service are conducting investigations into the circumstances surrounding the driver’s death.

If you witnessed this crash and have not yet spoken to police, or you have dash camera footage of the collision, you are asked to call the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.

READ MORE: Wildfire burning near Highway 97C

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