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Six killed in mountain highway crash

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JASPER, Alta.—Six people have died, including two tourists from the U.S., following a highway crash in Alberta's scenic Jasper National Park.

The collision happened about 5 p.m. on Tuesday on the Icefields Parkway near the Honeymoon Lake campground, about 60 km south of the Jasper townsite.

A van carrying five members of a family from Louisiana and Texas was heading north when it collided with a southbound vehicle, causing both to start on fire, said RCMP Cpl. Laurel Scott.

All four people in the second vehicle were killed.

Two of the Americans in the van died at the scene while two other members of the family were badly injured.

Scott said a two-year-old in the van was not hurt.

“Miraculously, a young toddler survived with no injuries,” she noted yesterday.

CTV News said the dead included Angela Elkins of Louisiana and her son-in-law, Nick Copeland of Texas.

Elkins' husband, Curtis, and daughter, Sarah, were taken to Edmonton hospitals in serious condition.

Scott said a third vehicle drove off the road to avoid the wreck and two people in that car suffered minor injuries.

Several passing motorists stopped to pull people out of the vehicles, she noted, including a retired firefighter from Australia.

Gagan Sidhu of Surrey, B.C. was travelling the highway with his wife and daughter when they saw black smoke and figured it was a forest fire.

As they got closer and saw the burning wreckage of two vehicles, he got out to help.

Some people were doing CPR, others were offering survivors juice and blankets, he noted.

Two men who were injured died as he was at the scene.

Sidhu was handed a fire extinguisher and, with the help of a few others, put out flames that were spreading from the vehicles through grass toward some trees.

“People really gave their all . . . to help out,” he remarked.

RCMP Sgt. Rick Bidaisee in Jasper thanked everyone who pitched in.

“Members of the public were enormously helpful in saving lives and helping everyone they could,” he said in a statement.

The Icefields Parkway, officially Highway 93 North, is a popular tourist route, especially in the summer, for those travelling between the resort communities of Jasper and Lake Louise.

Winding through the Rocky Mountains, the road passes by glaciers, waterfalls, and turquoise lakes.

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