Three people died and two others were injured in a five-vehicle crash on Highway 30 in Bécancour, Que., near Trois-Rivières, Monday.
Provincial police received a call around 2:15 p.m. about a collision involving a car, a minivan, two 10-wheelers and a semi-trailer. The heavy trucks, which were carrying grains and rocks, caught fire after impact.
Firefighters were called to put out the fires before two truck drivers and the driver of the car were pronounced dead on the scene. The other two drivers suffered minor injuries.
The cause of the collision is still unknown and an investigation is underway. Police say the road surface was dry and there was no glare at the time of the incident, but evidence points to one of the vehicles ending up in the opposite lane.
"Is it more of a mechanical problem with the vehicle? Or was the driver distracted? Why did he end up on the other direction? We are looking at human factors and maybe even the mechanical side will be looked at," said Sûreté du Québec spokesperson Éloïse Cossette.
Police will also meet with the family members of the victims for information that could explain the cause of the crash, like fatigue, said Cossette. The investigation could last days or even weeks, she said.
Environment Québec was contacted because large amounts of fuel were spilled on the highway, which was closed in both directions overnight. It reopened at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Cossette said towing is always more complicated when trucks are involved.
"The trucks were completely burned," she said. "It was not easy for them to tow the trucks, and we had to clean the highway."
Autopsies will be needed to determine the identity of the victims.