UPDATE: Head-on highway crash south of Nanaimo claims life

NANAIMO – One person confirmed dead and two others taken to hospital following head-on crash south of Nanaimo.

A head-on collision between a motorhome and a car has claimed the life of one person and sent two others to hospital.

The crash happened Monday at about 11:30 a.m. south of Nanaimo on the Island Highway on a stretch of road known as Chase River hill.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, but initial information indicates a car was travelling northbound in the southbound lanes of the highway when it crashed head-on into a motorhome. The impact tossed debris more than 40 metres and triggered a fire in the motorhome occupied by a couple, estimated to be in their 60s.

The driver of the motorhome was trapped by the vehicle’s steering wheel, but was pulled free of the vehicle by firefighters as they were knocking down the blaze. The driver was rushed to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

The man’s wife was reportedly walking and conscious when emergency crews arrived, but was also taken to hospital.

Police have learned the identity of the driver of the car, but have not released the name.

“He was a young male from Nanaimo,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

Damage to the car is so extensive emergency crews have yet to determine how many occupants were in car. It has not been determined why the car was driving into oncoming traffic.

The motorhome was part of a convoy of recreational vehicles from up Island that were heading out on vacation.

The southbound lanes of the highway are expected to remain closed until about 4 p.m. Monday while collision analysts with the RCMP’s South Island Highway Patrol investigate and the B.C. Coroners Service attends the scene.

Police are releasing little other information until the victim’s family has been notified.