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School bus full of farm workers crashes into ditch in rural Abbotsford

WATCH: Nine people were hurt after a bus carrying farm workers rolled over in Abbotsford. As Jordan Armstrong reports, the crash reminds some of more deadly incidents involving workers.

Nine people were injured after a bus full of farm workers ran off the road and rolled into a ditch in rural Abbotsford Saturday morning.

Abbotsford police say the single-vehicle crash happened at 8:30 a.m. in the area of Ross Road and 58 Avenue.

The school bus, which was being used to transport workers to an undisclosed farm in the area, ended up on its side in the ditch.

Around 36 employees were on the bus, police say, and were all able to exit safely.

READ MORE: School bus with 14 students aboard crashes in Mission

B.C. Emergency Health Services said nine people were injured in the crash, but only three people were taken to hospital with minor injuries. The rest were treated at the scene.

Police could not say whether the bus driver was among the injured.

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It’s also not known what farm the workers were being transported to.

The cause of the crash is not yet known. WorkSafeBC and B.C. Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) have been called in to investigate.

READ MORE: 10 children, 2 adults injured in bus crash north of Cache Creek

In a statement to Global News, WorkSafeBC said it is still in the early stages of its investigation and cannot discuss any details.

Global News has reached out to the CVSE for comment.

Safety concerns

Laird Cronk, president of the BC Federation of Labour, said the accident reminded him of a more serious crash involving farm workers near Abbotsford.

In that 2007 instance, three people were killed and several more seriously injured after a van carrying 17 farm workers rolled over on Highway 1 outside the city.

“We don’t know what caused this accident, but I am reminded whenever something like this happens … is the need for strong and likely stronger regulations for the transportation of workers,” Cronk said.

WATCH: (March 14, 2016) A permanent memorial unveiled for farm workers killed in 2007 crash

“Rigorous inspections, and frequent inspections are needed to ensure these vehicles are properly equipped and they’re meeting safety regulations.”

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Cronk also pointed to statistics from the CVSE that show the rate at which vehicles transporting farm workers failed roadside inspections more than doubled between 2008 and 2013.

A similar increase was found during the same period in the number of WorkSafeBC inspections that found “serious mechanical issues.”

READ MORE: Candlelight vigil held for farm workers who died in Abbotsford 9 years ago

Both numbers have since seen improvements, but Cronk said more work needs to be done.

“All workers have an inherent right to go home safely to their families at the end of every work day,” he said.

Traffic was closed on Ross Road and 58 Avenue for hours, before police reopened the area just after 1 p.m.

WATCH: (Nov. 27, 2018) Secondary school students injured in bus crash near Cache Creek

Secondary school students injured in bus crash near Cache Creek
Secondary school students injured in bus crash near Cache Creek