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Boy airlifted to Edmonton hospital after Smoky Lake bus crash expected to make full recovery

Click to play video 'Smoky Lake residents gather to support each other after school bus crash' Smoky Lake residents gather to support each other after school bus crash
WATCH ABOVE: On Tuesday night, residents of Smoky Lake, Alta., came together to support each other after a school bus crash near the community on Monday morning. Sarah Komadina reports.

An Alberta family whose two sons were involved in a school bus crash near Smoky Lake earlier this week says they are very grateful for the support they’re received through this “terrible disaster.”

The Serben family said their sons Jedd and Jacob were both on the bus heading to H.A. Kostash School on Monday morning when it was involved in a collision with a picker truck.

Jedd suffered serious injuries in the crash, including a broken femur and internal bleeding, according to a public Facbeook post on the Serben Farms’ page Tuesday night. Jedd was one of the students airlifted to hospital in Edmonton following the crash.

READ MORE: Alberta school bus crash leaves 5 people in critical condition

The boy’s family said he has made “incredible progress” over the last 24 hours.

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“We are so grateful for every well wish and prayer we have received — these are holding us up through this terrible disaster,” the Facebook post read.

“He is expected to make a full recovery and is being so strong and brave.

“We wish to thank the heroes who helped him out of the bus, and extend so much gratitude to every single incredible health care professional at the Smoky Lake hospital and the Stollery Children’s Hospital who has helped heal him.”

On Tuesday, members of the Edmonton Oilers stopped by Jedd’s hospital room for a visit.

Jacob sustained bruises and a minor concussion but is in good spirits and doing well, according to the family, who has also been publicly updating their boys’ conditions on the farm’s Twitter account.

Jacob has been released from hospital, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the Serben boys.

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RCMP say their initial investigation revealed the school bus stopped at a stop sign as it approached Highway 28, but then proceeded into the intersection before being hit by the picker truck. Investigators say road and weather conditions were clear at the time of the crash.

Five of the 14 students on the bus were taken to hospital in Edmonton Monday in critical condition. Several others were injured in the crash.

Click to play video 'Students in hospital following school bus collision in Smoky Lake, Alta.' Students in hospital following school bus collision in Smoky Lake, Alta.
Students in hospital following school bus collision in Smoky Lake, Alta.

A GoFundMe has also been set up for all of the victims of the crash.

READ MORE: Alberta company launches internal investigation into collision with school bus near Smoky Lake

Early Wednesday afternoon, RCMP said they did not have any updates on specific patient conditions, only that no fatalities have occurred as a result of the crash.

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The investigation continues and no charges have been laid at this time.

Click to play video 'Smoky Lake school bus crash horrible reminder for Alberta mom' Smoky Lake school bus crash horrible reminder for Alberta mom
Smoky Lake school bus crash horrible reminder for Alberta mom

School bus safety

Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver said Wednesday work is underway to review school bus safety.

“In consultation with the federal transportation minister and the other transportation ministers across Canada, there is actually some work being done right now and we’ll be following up on some of that next year. So there’s already some work ongoing,” McIver said.

The minister said seatbelts is one aspect “being talked about,” but added research has shown they may not increase passenger safety.

“From the research that I’ve read, to retrofit seatbelts on a school bus, the research says it’ll make the school bus less safe instead of more because the bus isn’t made for the seatbelt. If you want to put seatbelts in a school bus, you probably need to build the school bus for the seatbelt for it to be more safe,” McIver explained.

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READ MORE: MPs studying bus safety not calling for mandatory seatbelts on school buses

Starting on Sept. 1, 2020, all newly built medium and large highway buses, excluding school buses, will be required to have seatbelts.