CALGARY – Emergency officials say three children are in critical condition after a collision between a Ford F-350 work truck and a school bus, north of Calgary.
It happened just after 8 a.m. on Friday on Highway 791 and Township 290 near Crossfield.
Motorists quickly stopped to help students get off the bus, and secure the scene.
Alberta Health Services says multiple children were injured, including a five-year-old boy who was airlifted to hospital in Calgary with potentially life-threatening injuries.
Eight other children, ages 5 to 9-years-old, were transported to the Alberta Children’s Hospital by ground ambulance.
AHS says three of the children are in critical condition, while six are in non life-threatening condition.
WATCH: Airdrie RCMP Const. Robert Frizzell speaks at a press conference at the Rocky View Headquarters in Airdrie.
The bus driver was transported to hospital in serious condition. She worked for First Student Canada school bus transportation and sources tell Global News her son was among those injured.
The driver of the truck had minor injuries. He was not taken to hospital.
Emergency crews found the yellow school bus upright against a guardrail when they arrived, and a large pickup truck nose down in a ravine after smashing through a reinforced guardrail.
The front end of the bus was crushed and missing its windshield. Glass and auto parts were scattered across the road.
RCMP say Initial reports indicate that the school bus was traveling westbound and the truck was traveling southbound at the time of the crash.
Crossfield Mayor Nathan Anderson said the children attend Crossfield Elementary School and W.G. Murdoch School.
Acting Superintendent Susan Williams from Rocky View Schools says a letter was sent home to parents, advising them how to talk to their children about what happened to their classmates.
The letter suggests they try to speak to their kids about how they feel.
“Please be assured, our teachers and staff will be taking extra care in the coming days to observe students who may be exhibiting signs of stress as a result of this accident,” the letter reads.
Greif counselors are at both schools to help students and staff deal with this incident.
WATCH: Acting Superintendent Susan Williams from Rocky View Schools speaks at a press conference at the Rocky View Headquarters in Airdrie.
Education Minister Jeff Johnson released a statement about the crash around 1 p.m., saying his thoughts and prayers are with the families involved.
Read the full statement below:
“Early this morning, RCMP reported that a school bus and truck collided near Airdrie. I understand that a number of children and the bus driver have been transported to medical facilities where I know they will get the best level of care possible.
“We also learned of two children being injured in Calgary today while crossing the street at an intersection.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and school communities of all those involved in these unfortunate incidents.
“Thank you to the first responders for their prompt response and the invaluable service they provide to Albertans every day.
“And, I want to implore drivers to please watch out for our children, whether they are on a school bus or walking. We are all responsible for their safety,” says Johnson.
– with files from The Canadian Press, David Boushy, Bindu Suri and Amber Schinkel.
GALLERY: Nine injured in school bus crash north of Calgary