Two women were killed and two others were rushed to hospital after the van they were in smashed through a median and hit a rock face near Squilax, east of Chase, late Friday morning.
Central Interior Traffic Services RCMP Cpl. Mike O'Flynn said the driver and a front-seat passenger, both 71-year-old women, were taken by air ambulance to Royal Inland Hospital with serious injuries.
An 82-year-old female passenger and a 73-year-old female passenger died at the scene. Police said all of the women are from Kamloops, but names were withheld until next of kin are notified.
O'Flynn said in a press release the Trans-Canada Highway was bare and dry at the time. Early traffic analysis showed the eastbound van veered off the main lane, crossed an asphalt island and went into the ditch before hitting the rock face head on.
All the women were wearing seat belts.
Rick Emery, a driver with Diamond Delivery, was right behind the 2001 red Dodge Caravan.
"I just watched it — there's that little bit of a corner and it veered right and didn't take the corner," he said.
"The vehicle just veered to the right, bounced over the median and straight into the rock wall."
He pulled over and leapt out, as did a couple who came down the Squilax-Anglemont Road seconds after the van crashed. While he helped, he was on the phone to 911.
Emery said the driver was having difficulty breathing but seemed better after she calmed down, although she appeared to be in shock.
The front passenger had a cut on her wrist. Both of the women in front had been protected by air bags, he said.
Emery wasn't aware there were passengers in the back until another man opened the sliding door. Rescuers tried CPR but were unsuccessful.
Emery said he glanced at a tag on the luggage in the back that identified one of the women as being from Kamloops.
Arrow Trucking driver James Hilbner was driving on the Trans-Canada headed east, two vehicles behind the van that crashed.
"The van went over the first median and near the second one and straight into the rock wall," he said.
By the time he pulled over his truck, there were already people out helping the injured.
"I went and offered to give assistance. I helped remove one person from the vehicle," he said.
"They already had the one door open when I got there. There was a man there who had first aid. He was working on everybody. He asked me and another man to get a woman out of the vehicle. They were going to try to do CPR on her."
The accident closed the Trans-Canada for a while, then it opened to single-lane traffic. Access to the Squilax-Anglemont Road was closed for three and a half hours. All traffic was flowing by 2:30 p.m.
Any witnesses are asked to call the lead investigator, Const. Darren King, at 250-828-3159.
The coroner's service expects to release more information about the deceased on Monday.