School bus crash near Vernon raises concerns about icy road
No serious injuries reported after bus ends up onto its side with 19 students onboard
Nineteen students who were taken to hospital after a school bus skidded on some ice and rolled onto its side in Vernon, B.C., this morning have been released.
Vernon RCMP say the crash happened just before 8:30 a.m. PT Thursday as the bus was driving along Rimer Road near Swan Lake.
The driver lost control in icy conditions and the bus slipped off the road, turning on its side in the ditch. No other vehicles were involved.
Police say all the students on board were taken to hospital as a precaution, including three who were complaining of feeling sore following the crash. No serious injuries were reported.
Driver tried to avoid collision
Trevor Cairns, the owner of the A-1 bus company, said when the driver hit the black ice, he decided to put a wheel in the ditch in an attempt to stop the truck from sliding into the busy intersection or down an embankment on the other side.
He said the driver had 10 years experience and a Class 1 licence to drive a transport truck. The bus had passed its annual inspection just six weeks ago, said Cairns.
Cairns was reluctant to blame road maintenance for the accident, but would say, "It did not appear the roads were sanded."
Rimer Road is outside the City of Vernon and is maintained by a private contractor, JPW Road and Bridge.
RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk agreed the road was icy and credited the driver for avoiding serious injuries.
"It's very foggy, the road is slick in that particular location….The driver was doing everything he could with the safety of those students in mind," said Molendyk.
A spokesperson for JPW Road and Bridge told CBC News that the road was sanded and disputed claims his company might be at fault.
Fire truck was following bus
'God’s timing was incredible...a fire truck was directly behind our bus!"- Vernon Christian School spokeswoman Corinne Remple
The students all go to the nearby Vernon Christian School, which issued a statement after the crash.
"God’s timing was incredible. As the bus flipped over on its side a fire truck was directly behind our bus. They were able to unload the students and quickly assess the injuries," read the statement.
"All students were walking, talking and generally, by all accounts, okay. Students and staff gathered at the school this morning to pray and debrief."
With files from Jaimie Kehler