Officials say a 10-year-old is in critical condition and seven other people have serious injuries after a head-on crash involving a van and a bus near Collingwood.
Emergency crews were called to Highway 26, north of Stayner, at around 1:50 p.m. Friday after receiving reports the van travelling northbound collided with the bus travelling southbound. Police said the van crossed the centre line for an undetermined reason.
Clearview Fire Department Chief Colin Shewell told Global News that firefighters arrived and found eight people injured inside the van. He said five had to be extricated by crews.
WATCH: Bus, van crash head-on near Collingwood, 8 taken to hospital
“This is a very serious collision – one of the largest we’ve dealt with up in our small municipality,” Shewell said.
He said the patients were taken to a hospital in Collingwood in serious condition, adding Ornge air ambulances were being dispatched to the region.
An OPP spokesperson said the children are between four and 15 years old. Police said a 10-year-old child is in critical condition.
A spokesperson for the Hospital for Sick Children told Global News in a statement that three of the patients were airlifted to the hospital.
WATCH: OPP provide update after 2 adults, 6 children taken to hospital following collision
Shewell said 41 teens and four adults, who were on their way back to the Hamilton area from a ski trip, were on the bus at the time of the crash. He said multiple people were treated on scene for minor injuries.
A local transit bus was called in to take all the passengers to the Stayner arena, where members of the local Lions club provided food and drinks to those brought to the centre. A second coach bus was dispatched to the arena to pick up the passengers and it left to bring them to Hamilton before 5 p.m.
Shewell said the occupants in the van are believed to be from outside Ontario.
The OPP technical collision reconstruction unit has been called in to assist with the investigation. Police said they’re trying to figure out why the van crossed the centre line. Officers said weather is being investigated as a possible contributing factor.
Highway 26 between Mosley Street and Wyant Drive re-opened before 8 p.m.