Vanja and Carlee Krtolica have never been so thankful to be stuck in construction traffic.
The delay may have saved their lives, as the Calgary couple and their baby Layla were on the same snow coach tour that crashed on Saturday at the Columbia Icefield, though on a separate schedule.
“We were thinking how fragile life is and how quickly it could be our time is up at any point. You don’t know when your time comes,” said Vanja on Monday.
The couple and their baby were on stopped on a glacier sightseeing vehicle when they saw another bus picking up speed as it went down the hill.
“We were facing them directly and we saw them speed up on the hill which typically, you are only going a few kilometres an hour down that hill with a really controlled descent. And they started speeding up and everybody started gasping saying that wasn’t normal. And then they seemed to lose control and we saw them hit an embankment and start rolling side over side probably four or five times,” Vanja said.
Vanja said it didn’t look like anyone could have survived the roll over.
“I saw some people who were thrown from the bus and weren’t moving so I didn’t think they had made it. It was just a horrific scene,” Vanja said.
RCMP and Transport Canada will be investigating the crash.
RCMP said they will not be releasing the names of the victims, but confirmed those killed in the rollover near Jasper, Alta., are a 24-year-old woman from Canoe Narrows, Sask; a 28-year-old woman from Edmonton; and a 58-year-old man from India.
Family identified the woman from Saskatchewan as Dionne Durocher to Global News.
Twenty-four others were injured in the crash. Four remain in serious condition, RCMP said Monday.
Himanshu Lalaji, a friend of three families on the bus who were travelling together, said they are recovering in hospitals in Calgary, Edmonton and Banff.
Lalaji saw his childhood friend who was injured in the crash at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary on Monday. He also visited his friend’s mother at the Mineral Springs Hospital in Banff.
“She’s OK. She is stable so that is pretty good news. She just has a minor fracture and she doesn’t remember anything. My friend is OK. He has multiple injuries and fractures. But he is in good care at Foothills,” Lalaji said.
“I am so devastated because he is my childhood friend.”
Lalaji said his friend’s parents who were both on the tour were visiting from India to see their new granddaughter.
He said the baby girl was released from hospital and her mom “is doing OK.”