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Updated: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 14:44:32 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

17-vehicle crash closes Trans-Canada in Chilliwack, B.C.



Mihai Serban tweeted this photo of the crash on Highway 1 in Chilliwack on Friday morning. Mihai Serban/Twitter

Mihai Serban tweeted this photo of the crash on Highway 1 in Chilliwack on Friday morning. Mihai Serban/Twitter

A 17-vehicle crash involving a Greyhound bus closed Highway 1 in both directions in Chilliwack, B.C., a rural community east of Vancouver, on Friday morning.

The chain reaction crash happened in the westbound lane of the Trans-Canada Highway as rush-hour traffic was crossing the Vedder Canal Bridge,

RCMP Sgt. Tim Shields said 14 people were taken to nearby hospitals, in Langley, Abbotsford and Mission, for treatment.

Police confirmed there were no fatalities, but the seriousness of the injuries isn't clear. An air ambulance called to the scene was cancelled, officials have confirmed.

Witness Mihai Serban told CBC News that despite the large number of vehicles involved, he did not think the injuries were too serious.

"I haven't seen any ambulances. Everything seems to be calm. I saw some people using the Jaws of Life on a car right in front of the bus, the firemen. I'm not seeing any ambulance," he said.

Serban said he arrived on the scene shortly after the crash.

 "When I got to the highway, the bridge — the Greyhound bus was on the first half of the bridge and in front of it there were two pretty smashed cars, and pretty much all of the rear of the bus is cars sandwiched."

Smoke may have distracted drivers

He speculated the drivers may have been distracted by a fire under the bridge.

"From what I understood, the homeless person was doing a fire underneath the bridge and the smoke was pretty thick, and that's what caused the accident," he speculated.

Greyhound company officials confirmed the bus — No. 5407 — was heading from Kamloops to Vancouver at the time of the crash with 37 people on board.

Five people on the bus suffered minor injuries, but no one was taken to hospital. The passengers were briefly trapped after the accident because the damaged front door could not be opened.

A second bus was sent to pick up the passengers and take them to Vancouver. The bus is expected to arrive in Vancouver around 11:45 a.m. PT.

The highway was closed in both directions after the crash, but it appears the eastbound traffic has now resumed. DriveBC says a detour is available for westbound traffic at Exit 116 on Lickman Rd.

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