Canadian police stated Wednesday that whiteout occurrences likely triggered a huge pileup involving about 200 vehicles south of Montreal.
Two people died in the collision, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Quebec provincial police informed that about a dozen people were sent to hospital with small to serious injuries after the midday crash in La Prairie, Quebec. The crash took place around 12:30 p.m. on a stretch of Highway 15 that runs along the St. Lawrence River. The pileup of vehicles stretched nearly a mile.
Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel informed reporters in Quebec City the pileup occurred in an area where heavy winds come off the river, forming sudden blizzard-like conditions.
“People were driving, there were strong winds … and, suddenly, you couldn’t see anything,” Bonnardel said. “And then, well, the pileup started.”
Two snow removal operations took place in the area in the hour prior to the crash, Bonnardel added.
Bonnardel stated the highway isn’t known for security problems, and 65,000 automobiles use the southbound part of it every day.
The transport minister stated he’ll await the outcome of an investigation before deciding whether any action need to be taken.
A school bus was also involved in the pileup, however none of the high school students on board were injured, stated Andree Laforest, the province’s acting public security minister.