06/07/2014 07:51 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:05 EDT

5 pulled from burning car that went off Sea-to-Sky highway

One person died and four others were injured in a single-vehicle crash that closed the Sea-to-Sky highway between Squamish and Whistler this afternoon.

Eyewitness Patrick McLaughlin came upon the crash scene at the Garibaldi Salt Shed, near the big orange Cullion Creek Bridge, right after it happened at around 12:45 p.m. PT.

"The car had gone of the highway, flipped over onto its roof and slid down through a thicket of trees," he said.

He said a group of more than a dozen people raced to the car, tried to put out a fire, and dragged the occupants outside.

"They had to smash windows and pull the doors open to get people out, and it took quite a while," he said.

Two fire extinguisher canisters were emptied out onto the bottom of the car, but the fire eventually engulfed the vehicle.

"Finally we got these guys out, and we had to move them farther back because the whole car went up in flames," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said at least one doctor was among the first people to get to the vehicle and that passers-by, and then paramedics, performed CPR on an older man but could not revive him.

"He was pretty badly injured," McLaughlin said.

The B.C. Ambulance Service confirmed two of those in the car were seriously injured, and that one was airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital and the other was airlifted to B.C. Children's Hospital in Vancouver.

The BCAS could not comment on the condition of the fifth person reported to have been in the car, and police have not yet confirmed any deaths.

The highway was closed for more than two hours, but has since reopened.

Google Map: Approximate location of crash