Surrey RCMP say one man is dead after a fiery two-vehicle collision at the Douglas (Peace Arch) border crossing in South Surrey Thursday morning.
Police say the collision involved a Porsche Cayenne SUV and a Toyota Sienna van.
“The Toyota subsequently caught fire after the collision. The male driver and lone occupant of the Porsche has been transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The male driver and sole occupant of the Toyota was pronounced deceased at scene,” a news release issued just before 2 p.m. states.
Police were alerted to the incident at approximately 11:30 a.m.
A tweet posted shortly after 11:30 a.m. by a traveller shows flames and thick smoke on the Canadian side of Peace Arch Park, not far from the monument.
PAN reporter Aaron Hinks described seeing two vehicles, apparently crossover-types, in a “t-bone position” in the garden, approximately 30 feet east of new totem pole.
— Ashleah Wilson (@ashleahwilson) May 2, 2019
A number of witnesses said they are too shaken to speak to media, however, one reported hearing at least five “explosions,” Hinks said from the scene.
“Lots of smoke and then saw flames, then more explosions, then more flames,” the witness told Hinks.
The witness also reported seeing one person taken from the scene in handcuffs.
Just witnessed brutal accident at #peacearch border crossing.. SUV full speed pushed a minivan 200 ft. on blvd, which burst into flames. Some heroes pulled driver out of SUV but nobody got out of van 20 ft flames. Hold on to your ppl. Things can change in an instant. Holy shit.
— Dan Mangan (@danmanganmusic) May 2, 2019
A gardener told Blaine, Wash. newspaper The Northern Light that he was in the greenspace when the incident occurred, but escaped injury.
“When I saw he wasn’t going to stop, I ran behind the bushes. At that point, the van just burst into flames,” Mitchell Gerhardt said.
Mitchell Gerhardt, 25, of Surrey, B.C. was working in the flower bed when the crash occurred. A car came barreling in at full speed from the US border, he said. “When I saw he wasn’t going to stop, I ran behind the bushes. At that point the van just burst into flames.”
— Zoe Deal (@RealZoeDeal) May 2, 2019
Southbound traffic reopened before 2 p.m. Thursday, according to the RCMP release; northbound lanes were re-opened to traffic late Thursday night.