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School bus impaled by logs after collision north of Edmonton in Barrhead

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School bus impaled by logs north of Edmonton in Barrhead
A logging truck was turning at the main intersection through the town of Barrhead Tuesday morning, when some logs on the trailer swung out and went through the side of the school bus. Breanna Karstens-Smith has more on the noon news. – Nov 2, 2021

RCMP and the Barrhead Fire Department responded to a collision in the Alberta town Tuesday morning, where several logs ended up crashing into the side of a school bus.

It happened at 8:37 a.m. at the intersection of 53 Avenue/Highway 18 and 49 Street/Grizzly Trail/Highway 33, near the Fas Gas station at the centre of the town.

An Alberta RCMP spokesperson said a logging truck was turning, when some logs on the overhang swung out and went through the side of the school bus.

A school bus was impaled by logs in Barrhead, Alta. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Global News

Police said no one was injured.

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Sgt. Bob Dodds with the Barrhead RCMP detachment said he was grateful nobody was seriously injured.

“I’m a parent too,” he said. “My kids rode the school buses in the small communities.

“We just have to make sure we respect the school buses when they’re coming and going,” he said, adding that the investigation into what happened was still ongoing.

The bus belonged to the Pembina Hills School Division, which said there were elementary, junior high and high school students on Bus #25 when the crash happened.

Michael Borgfjord, the school superintendent, told Global News there would usually be 31 kids on the bus, but on Tuesday there were 21 kids and two adults on the bus for morning drop off. The kids were all ages.

“We’re very fortunate that the students are safe,” he said. “In this day and age, with social media, you really want to communicate with parents quickly… just to let them know that they’re OK.”

Borgfjord said one person suffered a minor injury.

“I think everyone at first is in shock and is relieved that there’s no major injuries out of this event,” he said.

“I just happened to be coming out of the office at 8:30 a.m. and happened to see two logs sticking out of one of our buses, and I think anytime one of these things happen, all your crisis response planning and your training… from a transportation side and from a school level kicks in.

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“First and foremost you’re concerned about the safety of the students and the safety of the people on the bus, and once that happens, then you can start to debrief and look at what needs to happen next.”

Borgfjord said he realizes that, for some people, the shock of what happened may only kick in a few days after the incident and that the school board will ensure support is available for students and staff.

The bus belonged to the Pembina Hills School Division, which said there were elementary, junior high and high school students on Bus #25 when the crash happened.

The school superintendent told Global News there would usually be 31 kids on the bus, but on Tuesday there were 21 kids and two adults on the bus for morning drop off. The kids were all ages.

Parents were contacted by phone, the division said.

“The school division will continue to provide support for students and families in consideration of their emotional needs due to this incident,” the school division said in a statement on its website.

A school bus was impaled by logs in Barrhead, Alta. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Credit: Bryce Driessen

Bill Lane is a County of Barrhead councillor and saw the aftermath of the incident on his way to a council meeting.

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“I thought, ‘What the heck?'” he told Global News. “When I found out it was my grandkids who may have been in there, yeah I was pretty damn worried.”

He said his granddaughter was later found near the school, “pretty shaken up and scared and covered in a lot of glass.” He said he has since learned she was sitting on the other side of the bus from where the log came in.

Lane said he believes the number of logging trucks coming through town could be dangerous and that it’s something he would like to see looked at.

“Thankfully no one was seriously injured,” said Dave McKenzie, the mayor of Barrhead.

He said people in the area have raised concerns about the provincial highways before and that work has been done over the years to alleviate congestion there. However, he said that “historically speaking, it’s never been a really hazardous intersection” considering how much traffic goes through there.

The road remained closed for a few hours as crews cleaned up, RCMP said shortly before 10:30 a.m. The road reopened around 1:30 p.m.

Barrhead is about 100 kilometres north of Edmonton.

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