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School bus crash: Pedestrian killed, ‘numerous’ injuries in pair of Highway 97 collisions

Click to play video: 'Pedestrian killed in school bus crash in the Cariboo'
Pedestrian killed in school bus crash in the Cariboo
A pedestrian was killed and several people aboard a school bus were hurt in a pair of collisions in the same location along Highway 97 in the South Cariboo on Friday. Troy Charles reports from 100 Mile Elementary where some of the students attend school. – Jun 22, 2024

A pedestrian was killed and “numerous” people aboard a school bus were hurt in a pair of collisions in the same location along Highway 97 in the South Cariboo on Friday.

The B.C. Highway Patrol said the school bus had about 30 people aboard when it left the highway at Butler Road around 1 p.m., just north of Lac La Hache and about an hour north of 100 Mile House.

“Multiple air ambulances, BCEHS ground crews and several local fire departments responded to the scene,” Highway Patrol Cpl. Melissa Jongema said in a media release.

“Numerous people who were on the bus have been transported to hospital with varying injuries.”

Click to play video: 'Head-on crash: Truck collides with school bus in Deroche'
Head-on crash: Truck collides with school bus in Deroche

School District 27, which operated the bus, said all students and staff were accounted for.

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Not long afterward, a pedestrian was struck and killed in the same area of the highway.

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Police were unable to confirm if the pedestrian had been coming to the aid of the bus crash victims when they were hit.

In a social media post, BC Emergency Health Services said it deployed 11 ground ambulances and response units with primary and advanced care paramedics, along with seven air ambulances with critical care paramedics.

EHS reported 36 people were treated on scene; seven people were taken to hospital via air ambulances, while another seven were transported with ground ambulances.

School District 27 Superintendent Chris van der Mark told Global News the bus was carrying 100 Mile Elementary and Horse Lake Elementary students back from a field trip to Gavin Lake when it went off the road.

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He said the district was contacting parents directly to arrange pickup of their children, and asked them not to drive to the crash site.

Highway 97 was closed in both directions, but opened to single-lane alternating traffic later on Friday evening.

In a statement to Global News, Interior Health said that nearby hospitals did call a Code Orange in anticipation of a large number of patients from the crash, but all sites had the alert lifted by Friday evening.

The health authority said it could not “provide further information about patients or their conditions but remain focused and committed to their care.”

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