A huge and sudden downpour of rain is believed to be a contributing factor in a single-vehicle crash that sent three people to hospital Wednesday afternoon in the Comox Valley.

Cumberland Fire Chief Mike Williamson says when his crews arrived, the rain was still coming down and there were several inches of water on the highway.

"All of a sudden we got a huge downpour of rain, caused some hydroplaning here along the Inland Highway, this car went off the road, rolled over, three patents inside," Williamson said.

Volunteer firefighters arrived to find that two of the occupants had made their way out of the vehicle but the driver was still trapped inside, requiring crews to remove the steering wheel and cut into other parts of the vehicle.

"We just did a back-window drop down, extrication, so we just put a couple of cuts in the back window and then put a ram in and dropped the roof and then slid her straight out," Williamson said.

The chief said two of the occupants suffered head injuries while another had back and stomach injuries.

Comox Valley RCMP spokeswoman Const. Monika Terragni said investigators are still looking into the accident and the rain will be looked at as a potential factor.

The weather also apparently caused complications when paramedics attempted to airlift one of the patients to hospital.

The air ambulance couldn't land at the crash scene of the Courtenay Airpark, and a ground ambulance instead took the patient to the Comox Hospital.

Terragni said the crash serves as a reminder to all drivers "to slow down and not use cruise control when there is a potential for hydroplaning." 

cumberland crash