Saturday Jul 20, 2024
Saturday Jul 20, 2024

4 killed, more than 50 hospitalised in bus crash

2022 Dec 26, 18:53, Ottawa
Representative Image. (Photo Credit - ANI)

 Four persons were killed and more than 50 others had to be admitted to hospitals in southern British Columbia after the bus they were travelling in rolled over on an icy highway on Christmas Eve, according to the provincial Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), reported CNN.

"We can confirm, tragically four passengers were found deceased," a news release from the BC Highway Patrol and RCMP said. Authorities have not identified the deceased.

In a statement later Sunday, police said the exact number of passengers has yet to be confirmed and officers were in the process of locating and speaking to those who were on the bus, including the driver.

Medical teams at three area hospitals were treating at least 53 people after the crash, according to local health authority Interior Health, which said late Saturday that the incident on Highway 97C triggered a 'Code Orange' response -- a hospital designation used for disasters or a mass casualty event, reported CNN.

"Due to the exigent circumstances and injuries, many were transported to local hospitals prior to police having the chance to identify them at the scene," the statement said.

Police said the road conditions were described "as very poor with ice and snow on the road surface along with rain and hail falling".

Road conditions at the time of the crash were "very poor with ice and snow on the road surface along with rain and hail falling", said Const. James Ward in an update Sunday afternoon.

An information line has been set up for families to locate their loved ones involved in the accident, Interior Health said, reported CNN.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation and no further details were available.

The commercial passenger bus was traveling westbound on Highway 97C-Okanagan Connector when it went off the road and rolled onto its side in the eastbound lanes, according to the release.

The driver of the bus is cooperating with police, the release said.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, which happened between Merritt and Kelowna. The area is roughly 100 km. (62 mi.) north of the Canada-US border, reported CNN.

Interior Health implemented a 'Code Orange' response -- signalling a disaster or mass-casualty event -- in the hours following the crash. Additional critical care staff in areas, including emergency departments, medical imaging and surgery, were brought in.

DriveBC, the communications arm of the BC Ministry of Transportation, said the stretch of road was cleared and reopened shortly before 8.30 am local time on Sunday.

The ministry released a traffic advisory after the highway reopened, warning of poor driving conditions on highways in the southern Interior due to snow and freezing rain.

The ministry urged drivers to avoid non-essential travel, use caution and be prepared for highway closures on short notice if they must be out on the roads.


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