VAIL - A fiery crash off of Vail Pass Thursday night closed the interstate for more than three hours - as crews put out a grass fire and searched for the driver of the semi truck.
The crash will also close the interstate for several hours Friday morning as crews continue to remove the wreckage.
Around 5:15 p.m. Thursday, the driver of an 18-wheeler lost control of the vehicle and went across the eastbound lanes of the highway into a ravine, according to Colorado State Patrol.
Dramatic images show the truck dangling off the cliff, 200 feet off the ground. Parts of the truck fell into the ravine.
The truck caught fire, sparking a grass fire in the surrounding area that was put out quickly, the Colorado Department of Transportation said.
It took Colorado State Patrol a while to find the driver of the vehicle due to its extensive damage. The driver was pronounced dead on scene.
Eagle County Paramedics called the rescue attempt "very complex." Crews worked for hours during the highway closure alongside Vail Fire, Eagle River Fire, Vail Police, Vail Mountain Rescue Group, and CSP.
On Friday morning, crews will initiate another safety closure to remove the remainder of the semi truck at mile marker 176, Vail Pass.
The eastbound lane closure begins at 9:30 a.m. and is expected to last for four to six hours.
Highway 24 to Highway 91 is the suggested alternate route.
I70 EB closed at Vail (exit 176) for crash clean up on Vail Pass. Alt. Route Hwy 24 to Hwy 91. pic.twitter.com/K411h3TPmA— CSP Eagle (@CSP_Eagle) September 22, 2017
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