Columbia Icefield tour bus company relaunches with seatbelts nearly a year after fatal Alberta crash

Click to play video: 'Former drivers say Columbia Icefield tour buses frought with safety issues, poor maintenance'
Former drivers say Columbia Icefield tour buses frought with safety issues, poor maintenance
The fatal rollover on the Columbia Icefield didn’t come as a surprise to some former drivers of the same buses. As Heide Pearson reports, former Pursuit employees have come forward with alarming safety allegations – Jul 24, 2020

Pursuit, the company behind the fatal bus rollover in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains last year, has resumed operations and installed seatbelts in its vehicles.

Three people were killed and 14 were injured when a big-wheeled ice explorer rolled down a rocky embankment and landed on its roof on the Columbia Icefield on July 18, 2020.

RCMP work on the scene of a sightseeing bus rollover on the Columbia Icefield near Jasper, Alta., Sunday, July 19, 2020. Three people were killed and more than a dozen others were critically injured when a glacier sightseeing bus rolled at one of the most popular attractions in the Rocky Mountains, the Columbia Icefield, on Saturday, July 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Pursuit told Global News that the ice explorer experience reopened on May 21.

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“Immediately following the accident last summer, we engaged a team of internal and external experts to identify any additional safety measures to add to our current operation,” said Pursuit communications manager Tanya Otis on Saturday.

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“This multi-disciplinary team reviewed all elements of the operation, including fleet management, road maintenance and driver training.”

As a result of the recommendations, Otis said Pursuit has implemented additional measures to its safety and training programs that “adhere to and exceed current industry best practices,” including installing seatbelts in its fleet, implementing a new road maintenance and conditions measurement system, and enhancing the existing in-house driving training program.

“The incident at the Columbia Icefield last July was tragic, and we continue to extend our deepest condolences to everyone involved,” Otis added.

Click to play video: 'More survivors of Columbia Icefield rollover file lawsuit against tour operator'
More survivors of Columbia Icefield rollover file lawsuit against tour operator

The fatal rollover was the first major crash for the company, which operates the red-and-white sightseeing buses with monster-truck tires, according to The Canadian Press.

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At least two lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the 27 people on the bus that day.

The RCMP investigation is ongoing.

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