WANDERING RIVER — Six people are dead and three seriously injured in a fiery, head-on collision between two pickup trucks on one of the deadliest highways in Alberta.
Mounties are calling the scene on Highway 63 north of Wandering River — quote — “horrific”.
Police say the injured include a young boy, a teenaged girl and a 34-year man.
Preliminary reports indicate that a northbound pickup truck, carrying three people, pulled out to pass another vehicle, then collided with a southbound pickup, which had six people inside.
Two of the dead were in the northbound truck with the injured teen, who police say was pulled from the burning vehicle by passing motorists.
The injured have been airlifted to Edmonton-area hospitals.
Police say there was wet snow and reduced visibility at the time of the crash.
RCMP estimate that the highway will not reopen for at least another five hours, and traffic continues to be re-routed to Secondary Highway 881.
Highway 63, a busy route stretching north of Edmonton to Fort McMurray, is considered one of the deadliest in Alberta.
Two years ago, volunteer firefighters from Wandering River stopped responding to accidents on the highway because they found the work overwhelming.
In 2011, the provincial government and Athabasca County invested $1.3 million to hire more emergency responders to cover the route.