Alberta bus crash probed as injured riders released

Several passengers who were injured when a bus rolled off a highway in rural Alberta have been released from hospital, the bus company says.

Bus driver knew road well, says company manager

Several passengers who were injured when a bus rolled off a highway in rural Alberta have been released from hospital, the bus company says.

The bus was carrying 36 passengers to Edmonton from Fort McMurray on Friday afternoon when it flipped off the two-lane highway near Redwater, roughly 65 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

Passengers said the bus wobbled and went out of control on a curve. One man described seeing fellow passengers scraped across the pavement before the bus finally came to a stop.

While Alberta Health Services could not confirm the number of passengers released, it now says 31 people — not 28 as initially reported — were taken to hospital after the bus rolled. John Stepovy, general manager of Red Arrow Motorcoach, said quite a few of the passengers are now out of hospital.

Most had just minor cuts and bruises, but three passengers were critically injured in the crash.

Crash still under investigation

AHS spokesman Scott Seymour said privacy rules prevent them from providing updates on the condition of the injured passengers.

Stepovy said the company got hotels for some of the passengers and helped others move on to their next destinations.

"Our immediate concern and priority is for the well-being of our passengers and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families," Stepovy said.

Red Arrow has been operating on Alberta highways for more than 33 years and has an excellent safety record with well-trained drivers and a maintained and inspected fleet of buses, Stepovy said.

"With respect to our driver who was involved in [Friday’s] incident, he is an experienced Red Arrow Motorcoach driver — very familiar with the highway and has been operating a motorcoach for many years," Stepovy said.

The crash is still under investigation, but conditions on the road were dry and the weather was sunny when the bus flipped on the two-lane highway. RCMP have ruled out drugs or alcohol as factors in the accident.

With files from The Canadian Press