Bus passenger Lacey Shepherd was one of more than 100 people caught up in a crash on the Coquihalla Highway Sunday night.
At least six vehicles were involved, including the bus Shepherd was on and a couple of semi trucks.
Shepherd pulled out her phone and started recording what was happening as one of the semis came around the corner, slid across the road and hit another vehicle.
The people on the bus can be heard screaming and yelling ‘oh my God’ right before the crash.
Shepherd was travelling from Calgary to Coquitlam when they encountered the pile-up.
She said the roads weren’t too bad until they reached Merritt.
“It started to rain pretty bad and it was cooling off a little bit so it started to get really icy and we came around the corner and all we’ve seen is stuck vehicles and we just couldn’t stop,” she said.
Shepherd pulled out her phone and started recording the some of the moments during the crash. Screams and panic can be heard from people on board the bus.
“We originally hit the semi and we had a couple of semis fly past us and one had actually hit us and that’s when I decided to grab my phone,” she said.
“It just so happens that the truck was coming around the corner right as I pulled out my phone.”
She caught one of the crash moments and also some footage of the first responders helping the passengers evacuate the bus.
“It felt like it was slow motion, it felt like it was not real,” says Shepherd. “It went by really, really slowly and then it just turned into panic on the bus.”
Jordan Kawchuk takes the Greyhound route about once a month to visit his kids in Kelowna. He said he was just dozing off when all of a sudden the bus stopped and it was on a tilt.
“I didn’t think much of it because it was kind of stop and start on the icy mountain road to start with. But what happened next…” he said Monday morning.
Kawchuk said it “absolutely” felt like the bus was going to tip. People then started throwing their backpacks and carry ons out the window, he said.
“Everybody started standing up and yelling and screaming to get to the other side of the bus so we wouldn’t roll.
“The bus driver, I think over the intercom, said ‘brace yourselves.’ And then there was this long pause, which felt like forever and then ‘boom!’ we were hit by something massive, which I later found out was a semi truck.”
WATCH: Former Calgarian Jordan Kawchuk was on the Greyhound bus when it was caught up in the massive pile-up on the Coquihalla Highway Sunday night. He described the ordeal to Global News.
Kawchuk admits the entire ordeal is still a bit foggy, but said the emergency crews on scene were amazing. The passengers on the bus exited through a window and down a ladder.
He was he was quickly shuttled to an emergency reception centre in Hope, where volunteers were ready with blankets. After his vitals were checked and he was medically cleared, he was on another shuttle back to Vancouver.
Kawchuk arrived home at around 4 a.m. Monday. While he said he was jostled around a bit in the crash, he’s very grateful he wasn’t seriously injured.
“I definitely feel out of whack, like you would from any hard car crash — my neck and my back,” he said. “But I’m grateful I’m OK. I saw people go flying.”
Shepherd said no one was seriously injured on the bus but many suffered sore necks and shoulders.
Fraser Valley Traffic Services confirms no one was killed in the crash.
“We were expecting to hit the first semi but we weren’t quite expecting to get hit so hard from a couple of semis from behind,” says Shepherd.
She said they were on the bus for about two-and-a-half hours before being escorted off by first responders.
“Our bus driver did a great job of keeping us all calm.”
Graham Zillwood, who lives right across from the crash site and witnessed the accident, told CKNW Monday morning he has seen a lot of accidents in that area.
“I happens almost every winter unfortunately, in the same stretch,” he said.
“Just a a few minutes I happened to check my thermometer while I was making a coffee and it was right around zero to minus 2, in that range, and we were getting a little bit of hail. There was maybe half-an-inch on the ground. So there wasn’t a lot of snow but it was just at that crazy temperature I guess.”
Shepherd agrees, saying the change in weather took them all by surprise.
“I would say definitely keep an eye on the weather conditions, it changes in a split second,” she says.
Hope Mayor Wilfried Vicktor said drivers need to slow down on the Coquihalla Highway, especially when road conditions are poor.
A former tow truck driver, he said many of the calls he attended in his seven years on the road could have been avoided if drivers hadn’t been going so fast.
“People not giving enough time to get where they have to go, and then rushing. And then disaster awaits them, unfortunately.”
“Winter conditions can be extreme,” he said. “It’s a good road but if you’re driving too fast and the weather is poor it’s a recipe for disaster.”
When asked if the speed limit should be reduced, Vicktor said speed limits up to 120 kilometres per hour don’t apply in winter conditions.
With files from Global News reporter Janet Brown