At approximately 7:40 p.m., on Oct. 1, Lake Cowichan RCMP and the Lake Cowichan Fire Department along with the Youbou Fire Department, were called to a motor vehicle accident in the 9000 block of the Youbou Highway, just before the west end of Meades Creek Road.
The accident involved one vehicle heading east towards Lake Cowichan on the Youbou Highway. Somehow it ended up in the westbound ditch, and exploded into flames.
Three people (one male and two females) were in the vehicle, one of which was projected out of the vehicle upon impact. Two of the individuals were taken to the Cowichan District Hospital, and one, in critical condition, was flown by helicopter to Victoria General Hospital.
“But no-one has come forward to say how the other two were removed from the vehicle,” said Const. Jim Preston.
He adds that it is believed that two of the individuals were wearing their seatbelts.
The extent of injuries of these individuals and their current condition has not been released, but all survived the ordeal.
Two of the individuals are believed to be from the Youbou area and one is believed to be from out of town, says Preston.
Police cannot yet speak to the cause of the accident, or whether alcohol or speed were involved, but Preston says that the driver may face charges.
Rumours at the scene from witnesses and residents living in the area were that a tire popped, or that an elk stepped out in front of the vehicle.
RCMP and a traffic analyst were on the scene until midnight, forcing some people to wait to go home or abandon their vehicles until the next morning.
It is not yet known what caused the vehicle to burst into flames, but residents living close to where the accident occurred reported hearing two explosions. One resident said he heard an initial noise that sounded more like a thud, and the second one occurring approximately 15 seconds later. He said this second one was much louder and more like an explosion.
Lake Cowichan Fire Chief Doug Knott says the fire burned for about 45 minutes before firefighters were satisfied that it was out.
“The fire spread into the timber and onto a telephone pole,” said Knott.
Fire crews used fire retardant foam to put out the blaze.
In all, five fire trucks responded to the call, and fire crews were on the scene for two hours.