Three dead, five injured as horrific Malahat collision leaves rescue personnel shaken

Fire crews with Jaws of Life, medi-chopper attend scene of Sunday's tragedy - maybe Cowichan's worst ever — near Whittaker Road

A tow truck operator prepares to remove the wreckage of a vehicle torn in half in a tragic crash on the Malahat Sunday.

Three females were killed, and five people were injured after what may be Cowichan’s worst traffic accident in years.

A shaken Rob Patterson, chief of Malahat’s Volunteer Fire Hall, said the triple-tragedy happened at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday during a two-vehicle cross-over crash along a non-median section of Malahat Drive near Whittaker Road.

The head-on crash saw a southbound Honda SUV, containing five people, cross the centre line and hit a northbound Chev pick-up truck holding three passengers.

Names of deceased hadn’t been released by press time Tuesday, while the wreck’s exact was still under investigation.

The rain-soaked highway reopened at about 5:30 p.m. after being closed in both directions for some six hours as police re-routed traffic along Shawnigan Lake Road, south-end.

“It’s the worst (fatality) I’ve ever attended,” said Patterson.

“The driver of the Honda SUV was killed, as well as the female front passenger, and the female in the rear passenger seat who was ejected from the car,” Shawnigan Lake RCMP Sgt. Rob Webb says in a media release.

“A 20-year-old male was also ejected and taken to Victoria General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. He remains there in critical condition. A six-year-old girl, who was wearing her seatbelt, is described as a miracle for surviving this horrific crash.”

Passengers, all adults, from the 2003 pickup truck were treated at hospital and released, Webb says.

Patterson and his crew awaited the coroner to confirm the three deaths before two bodies were removed from the totalled 1997 Honda SUV.

Identities of all eight people — including five from the silver Honda — had not been released by press time.

The injured girl from the Honda, plus a passenger from the 2003 brown pick-up, were airlifted by medivac helicopter to Victoria hospital.

The male ejected from the Honda was taken by ambulance to Victoria hospital, chief Patterson explained of the wreck at what he called NASCAR Corner — near where Whittaker, leading to the Aerie luxury resort, reaches the highway.

“It’s very much a high-speed crash at NASCAR Corner.

“The Chevy driver put his truck in the ditch to avoid the oncoming (Honda) vehicle, but was unsuccessful.

“The Honda SUV four-door was torn in half when it crossed the line and hit the truck.”

That happened just north of Whittaker where the highway narrows into one lane “and everyone jockeys for position to get ahead of people,” he described.

First responders — including the lead Malahat hall, and back-up crews from Mill Bay’s hall — plus police and paramedics attended the tragedy that closed the busy highway.

Two sets of Jaws of Life were used to remove people from the mangled wreckage that disturbed officials present, including Patterson’s members who were to discuss trauma counselling Monday.

“Most people have never seen anything like this,” the veteran chief said after dealing with Sunday’s carnage. “This is the worst we’ve had.

“It’s a difficult job, but it’s what we’re trained to do.

“You have to put it into perspective. We’re there to help,” he said, praising his crew, and Mill Bay’s volunteer firefighters.

“I’m so thankful for the crew I have; they’re second to none.

“And my God, (Mill Bay members) they’re absolutely professional — it’s an incredible brotherhood we’re part of.”

Witnesses can call the Shawnigan Lake RCMP at 250-743-5514.

Just Posted

Nearly a dozen coonhound puppies and their mother to reunite at Saanich park

Dogs’ former foster family initiated one-year reunion plans

Trio brings roller skating fever to Greater Victoria

Roller Skate Victoria offers workshops, summer camps and more

Westin Bear Mountain hotel sold to local businessman and entrepreneur

Ecoasis will maintain responsibility of golf and tennis operations and developable lands

Public warned of night firing exercises in Saanich after evidence of trespassing

Routine shooting practice to take place at Heals Range from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday

Riders roll to help Island hospices

$240,000 raised so far for this weekend’s seventh annual Cycle of Life Tour

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: IIO

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Most Read