Heavy smoke prevents air ambulance from landing at fatal motorcycle crash in southern Alberta

Police say heavy wildfire smoke initially prevented an air ambulance from landing at the site of a fatal motorcycle crash in southern Alberta.

At 11:30 a.m., Cochrane and Turner Valley RCMP responded to the crash site on Highway 40, approximately 13 kilometres north of Highway 541 — or between the trailheads for Cat Creek or Pickle Jar Lakes trails.

Police said a group of motorcylists, who occasionally meet up for casual rides, had left Calgary to drive through the Kananaskis area. At around 11 a.m., two riders lost control and entered the ditch.

A 47-year-old man from Calgary was declared dead at the scene, and a 40-year-old man, also from Calgary, was later taken by STARS air ambulance to hospital with serious injuries.

Police had said due to the remote location, information about the crash was initially limited and that heavy wildfire smoke had initially prevented STARS air ambulance from landing safely at the location.

Highway 40 was closed south of Highway 1 between Lantern Creek day use area and Lineham Creek day use area, but reopened after 8 p.m.

RCMP’s investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Most of Alberta, including the site of the crash, was under a special air quality statement due to wildfire smoke. The air quality health index was forecasted to hit seven, or high risk, on Sunday. 

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