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Crash of truck hauling explosive materials claims life of driver in B.C. Interior

Single-vehicle incident shuts down most traffic to Gibraltar Mine near McLeese Lake
(DriveBC map)

A truck hauling explosive material crashed near Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake early Tuesday, March 19, claiming the life of the driver.

Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, media relations North District RCMP media relations, said in a news release Wednesday the tanker truck carrying high grade explosives had gone off the road and was engulfed in flames.

RCMP along with the Gibraltar Mine rescue crew evacuated the area and set up containment until the explosive risk was mitigated.

“Once the explosive risk was mitigated, police confirmed that an adult man had died as a result,” Saunderson noted, adding no names will be released at this time.

The vehicle involved in the crash was a third-party truck contracted to Orica Canada Inc., a mining services company, confirmed Sean Magee, vice-president of corporate affairs for the mine’s owner Taseko Mine Ltd. Tuesday.

Magee said the truck was not destined for Gibraltar, but to another industrial site in the Cariboo region.

During Tuesday’s evacuation, the Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) was contacted and a 1.6-kilometre radius was established, Saunderson said.

On Wednesday, Magee said there was no explosion after the crash, only a fire that burned itself out.

Acting Williams Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Josh Smith said police were called about the incident at around 4 a.m.

Because of the explosion risk at the scene police would remain there until the risk was mitigated, he added.

The exclusion zone was lifted by early afternoon Tuesday and the road was re-opened to the mine site.

Beaver Lake Road was closed at Highway 97 near McLeese Lake until early afternoon as emergency crews responded to the incident.

The RCMP and Orica continue to investigate the incident.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Access to Gibraltar Mine resumes near McLeese Lake

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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