Three people are dead, say police, following a head-on collision on Highway 3 in B.C.’s East Kootenay region.

Elk Valley RCMP say the collision happened on Monday afternoon, around 2:30 p.m., just east of Sparwood, and that it involved an SUV and a commercial tractor-trailer.

According to police, the westbound SUV was attempting to pass other vehicles when it collided head-on with the eastbound tractor-trailer.

“The collision flipped the white, full-sized SUV, which then caught fire almost immediately,” said B.C. RCMP Sgt. Chris Manseau.

“Quick-acting witnesses on scene rescued the commercial truck driver from his vehicle before the fire quickly consumed both the vehicles. The SUV was later determined to have three deceased occupants in it.”

Police thanked the witnesses and bystanders who assisted in helping remove the driver, and for also helping in the investigation.

RCMP added that they and the B.C. Coroners Service are investigating the collision.

A community of around 4,000 people, Sparwood is located almost halfway between Fernie and the B.C.-Alberta border.