Two people are dead following a police pursuit near Jasper Thursday night, RCMP said.

Police said Mounties attempted to stop a minivan spotted driving erratically near the east Jasper park gates before 5 p.m.

The van sped through the town of Hinton on Highway 16, driving east in westbound lanes while police gave chase.

Police said it crested a hill toward two oncoming vehicles. One vehicle dodged the van by driving in the curb lane.

Police said the pursued vehicle collided head-on with an oncoming truck in the passing lane, then burst into flames on impact. Officers tried to free the driver of the pickup, but when they return­ed to their vehicle for extraction tools, an explo­sion rocked and engulfed both vehicles in flames.

RCMP said both drivers died on scene. Police believe neither survived the initial crash.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, a police watchdog unit, is investigating the incident, and the circumstances leading up.

Investigators are working with the Edmonton medical examiner to identify the two deceased, in order to notify next of kin.

Latest From ...