BANFF – One motorist is fighting for his life in hospital Tuesday (Nov. 9) following consecutive days of serious crashes at the Alberta and British Columbia border.
Police are investigating the cause of a head-on collision near the Great Divide on Highway 93 South, approximately 42 kilometres west of the Banff townsite, which resulted in a 42-year-old man being "significantly injured" and airlifted by STARS air ambulance in "serious condition" to a Calgary hospital.
An update on his condition is not available at this time.
"It's winter driving conditions and people need to be aware of that," said Banff RCMP detachment commander Staff Sgt. Mike Buxton-Carr. "You are entering a mountain pass when you're entering Highway 93, north or south, and you can expect there to be reductions in visibility and the road surface to be effected by snow and ice as it accumulates. So we definitely urge people to be prepared for winter that includes the equipment you put on your vehicle and the speed at which you operate it.
"It's also worth noting that speed limits are a maximum, but you have to drive to road conditions."
Buxton-Carr said two commercial vehicles, a dump truck with an additional trailer and a semi-tractor trailer, going opposite directions collided Tuesday morning. The highway was briefly shut down as a result.
One day earlier, a head-on collision occurred in almost the same spot. While still under investigation, Buxton-Carr said Monday's (Nov. 8) accident involving two cars near Boom Lake and Storm Mountain, a few kilometres north from Tuesday's accident, was likely caused by a lack of proper winter equipment for one vehicle.
Three people were injured and transferred by EMS to Banff Mineral Springs Hospital. Two women, ages 25 and 31, were then airlifted with multiple traumatic injuries to Calgary by STARS.
"Both patients were in stable condition when we arrived at Foothills Medical Centre," said STARS spokesperson Deborah Tetley in an email.
Sgt. Buxton-Carr said a lack of winter tires might be a factor for the accident.
"Highway 93 [north and south] as of November 1 Parks Canada mandates winter tires [in Alberta on those roads] and as of October 1, once you enter into B.C. on that highway, it's winter tires or chains," said Buxton-Carr. "So that's what we're looking at whether the lack of winter tires were the contributing factors into the vehicle entering the oncoming lane."
The Outlook will update the story when more information is available.