Quebec provincial police investigating cause of fatal 140-vehicle collision on Highway 15

Quebec provincial police are trying to determine what led to a massive multi-vehicle crash on Highway 15 on Montreal’s south shore that killed two people and injured nearly 30 others on Wednesday.

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) confirmed on Thursday morning that at least one person remains in critical condition following the collision, which involved more than 100 vehicles. Investigators are also trying to identify the two victims who were killed.

“According to the latest information, nearly 140 vehicles were involved in the Highway 15 event, 70 of which were reported to have been damaged,” the SQ said in a statement.

The stretch of highway near La Prairie, just outside of Montreal, reopened to traffic around 1 a.m. on Thursday — more than 12 hours after the pileup occurred.

The collision, which spanned more than a kilometre on the highway, led to a code orange at three area hospitals to accommodate the influx of patients. Ambulances made at least two dozen trips to bring drivers and passengers to receive care.

“I just remember a bunch of stretchers coming in and out,” said Jack Sandberg, who was in the pileup. “A lot of people had braces on their necks.”

The extent of the crash was so severe that first responders from nine municipalities on Montreal’s south shore were called in to assist and help free drivers from their cars.

Quebec’s transport minister pointed to a sudden gust of wind from the St. Lawrence River that contributed to whiteout conditions on the highway. However, he said the stretch of highway hasn’t been deemed problematic.

“The sector hasn’t had more accidents,” François Bonnardel told reporters on Thursday outside the provincial legislature.

with files from Global News’ Alessia Simona Maratta, Gloria Henriquez and the Canadian Press

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