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Drivers hurt when ice slab falls on car

Ministry checking with experts on highway ice-falls

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Two women were injured Monday when a huge slab of ice broke away from the rock face at Porteau Bluffs and smashed onto the hood of their car as they travelled past.

“There was no warning that it was coming at all,” said Sea to Sky RCMP Cpl. Dave Ritchie, Monday.

The Volkswagen Jetta’s roof was smashed in as was the car’s sunroof, sending glass tearing through the flesh of the passengers in the front seat.

The Lower Mainland driver received lacerations to her face, arms and neck. One arm of the passenger in the front seat was broken and her exposed skin was lacerated as well.

It is believed the passenger was flown to a Vancouver hospital for treatment.

A third woman in the backseat was unharmed. Both passengers are visiting from the UK, said Ritchie, and were on their way to ski in Whistler.

No other cars were involved in the accident, which occurred about 10:30 a.m.

Said Ministry of Highway’s spokesman Dave Crebo: “The Ministry will review what happened and check with technical experts to see what can be done.”

The concern is that thawing temperatures may loosen other ice-falls that have built up along the highway’s rock faces.

Crebo said this type of accident is very rare.

“It was a rare event and it can occasionally happen in mountainous terrain,” he said.

“Fortunately no one was seriously hurt, but there’s very little that can be done to prevent that kind of thing. It is very difficult if not impossible to predict when a piece of ice might fall from the mountainside.”

The RCMP was doing tire checks Monday to make sure that people heading to Whistler were properly equipped.

“(Drivers) don’t mind being held up for five to 10 minutes while we check tires on their vehicles as the end result is that they don’t get hung up in an accident,” said Ritchie.

“You are on a mountain highway and you won’t get away with speed. Impatience and speed won’t get you anywhere on this highway.”

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