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Indo-Canadian Trucker From Abbotsford Dies In Fiery Highway 99 Crash

SURREY – An Indo-Canadian trucker from Abbotsford is dead after a fiery crash on Highway 99 which snarled traffic in Delta Wednesday morning.

Sources say the dead driver is Ravinder Singh Atwal, who was also known to family and friends as Ravi. Atwal, who died in the crash after his truck hit the median and caught fire, was 32 years old and leaves behind a young family with his wife and two sons, aged 4 and 6 years old.

Investigators are blaming a blown tire for a fiery crash. Witnesses reported seeing the tandem-axle commercial gravel truck wobble and lose control before it jack-knifed over a median and struck a van, bursting into flames, reported CTV News.

Police now say other witnesses have come forward stating that they saw a tire on the truck blow just before it lost control.

“Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement section of ICBC has confirmed there was a mechanical failure,” said Deas Island RCMP spokesman Sgt. Lorne Lecker.

Commercial vehicle inspectors performed an inspection of the truck at the scene and are now looking at the truck’s maintenance history, Lecker said.

No criminal charges are being pursued at this time, he said.

Delta police confirmed one person appearing to be the driver (Atwal) of a semi truck died in the crash.

Witnesses told CTV News some Good Samaritans tried to pull the Atwal from the wreckage but were unsuccessful after the flames consumed the vehicle’s cab.

“They had fire extinguishers and they were trying to extinguish the fire,” said Darlene Ward. “They did their best to get the guy out, but they had to give up.”

“With the diesel fuel leaking, one of the tires caught on fire and kind of went sky-high,” said Gary Edgar, one of the people who tried to save the driver. “An air tank exploded and we were trying to get him out of there and it was just time to back off.”

Police criticized some drivers who appeared to be filming they fiery wreckage as they passed by.

“As they’re going by they all want to take a souvenir video, and they’re all holding their cameras up, saluting the crash scene going by,” he said. “It’s creepy.” he said.

Police warned that this behaviour is common at crash sites, and police will attempt to charge those people with distracted driving when they can.

Richmond and New Westminster firefighters responded to the scene, helping to cover the Delta fire halls, many of whose members were at a funeral for the Delta firefighter who was struck and killed earlier this month.

Traffic was re-routed between the Massey Tunnel and Highway 17, according to DriveBC. Both north and southbound lanes are closed between highways 17 and 17A, and southbound traffic headed for the Massey Tunnel is being detoured to Highway 91. The highway was closed for 12 hours.

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