An eight-year-old student has died aftera school bus crashed on a busy freeway inCalgary'ssouthwest at the height of the Thursday morning rush period.
The girl was found unconscious and wedged face downbetween two seats. Rescuers said she suffered major blood loss.
A 13-year-old boy who was in critical condition with "full systems injuries" was upgradedto stable,according to an update by the Alberta Children's Hospital Thursday afternoon.
Two students who were in serious condition and seven students with minor injuries havebeen released from hospital.
Police said it appears the short yellow school busstruck a gravel truckparked on the shoulder of busy Crowchild Trail near 17th Avenue Southwest and then continued on to smash into a light standard. Both drivers were unhurt.
"The initial collision with the dump truck actually peeled off a part of the side of this school bus," Calgary police Insp. Roger Chaffin told CBC Newsworld. "It caused a considerable amount of damage."
The side of the bus was sheared off and the front end crumpled. A witness told CBC News that the female bus driver was "hysterical."
A total of 11 children ranging in age from eight to 17 were on the bus, which appeared to be equipped with seatbelts, but it's unclear if they were wearing them.
Several people driving by stopped to help, including an off-duty firefighter and a doctor.
"The one little girl that was in there, inbetween the seats, we didn't see her right away," said witnessTom Taylor.
"And then I just climbed into the bus and then I saw her and called the doctor and switched spots with himand let him look after her."
Sixstudents were on the way to The Third Academy, a private special education school, andfive attend Mountain View Academy, another private schoolthat shares the same building.
"We're all a big family in that school so if something bad happens to one, it happens to all of us," said Mountain View vice-principalColleen Ryan, as she waited at the hospital with parents.
"So our thoughts right now are with the children and that's what we need to be focusing on."
The speed limit on the stretch of road where the crash happened is about 70 km/h.
"It's a fairly good straightaway at that point," said Chaffin. "The weather today is very clear. There's no unusual road conditions."
Investigators have determined the gravel truck was parked on the side of the road because of mechanical issues.
Police are interviewing the bus driver, who is employed by The Third Academy, and will look at what factors led to the collision.
Investigators said she is suffering from "emotional trauma."