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Environmental cleanup begins after wood chip truck crash at Cameron Lake

The remains of a wood chip truck
The remains of a wood chip truck's load spills into Cameron Lake approximately five kilometres east of Cathedral Grove, Feb. 22, 2016. Environmental response crews have now surrounded a visible oil slick with absorbent booms.
— image credit: MALCOLM MENNINGA/Special to the News

A semi-truck carrying woodchips remains in Cameron Lake at an unknown depth after driving off the Alberni Highway at approximately 8:30 a.m. Feb. 21.

The 2002 Freightliner Truck and trailer was heading inbound to Port Alberni when the driver lost control and drove off the highway near Angel Rock according Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Forman. The truck’s trailer leaned and flipped, dragging the tractor over the concrete and into the lake, spilling oil and Hemlock woodchips.

The driver, a 45-year-old male and passenger, a 49-year-old female, both from Campbell River, escaped the vehicle with relatively minor injuries and were treated by BC Ambulance personnel.

The truck had approximately 500 litres of diesel and approximately 100 litres of hydraulic oil on board according to the Ministry of Environment. The day after the crash 600 feet of containment boom lined with absorbent material was installed around a visible oil slick and two boats from Western Marine Spill Response Corporation were on site booming and sweeping.

David Karn, senior public affairs officer at the Ministry of Environment, said things at the crash site are going well and that a vacuum truck will be on site soon to begin cleanup of the woodchips from the shoreline.

Barry Pyle, owner of Cheyenne Contracting, the Coal Harbour trucking company that owns the truck, said both occupants are doing fine and that they’re very lucky to have escaped with minor injuries. He said he is waiting for an accident report from the RCMP.

Cheyenne Trucking has contracted West Coast Marine Response Corporation and Nucor Environmental for the cleanup, according to an MOE spokesperson.

Forman said the RCMP have been to the site of the crash to examine tire marks and skids but the case is still on-going. Until the truck is out of the lake there’s not a lot they can do in terms of further investigation, he added.

karly.blats@albernivalleynews.com

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