A crash between a passenger bus and a tanker truck on the busymain highway from Edmonton to Fort McMurray late Wednesday sent 12 people to hospital, two of them incritical condition.
"We know some are more severe than others. The driver of the coach has been critically injured," said Joel Trudell, general manager of Red Arrow Motorcoach company.
He said the bus driverwas airlifted to a hospital in Edmonton.One otherperson isin serious condition,RCMP said Thursday.
Of the 12 people taken to hospitals, six people have now been discharged. Most of the remaining patients are in stable condition with broken bones and bruises.
Thebus was heading north from Edmonton to Fort McMurray when the crashhappened around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday on Highway 63.
"The road conditions at the time were what I would say were in poor condition," Const. Ali Fayad of theFort McMurray RCMP said Thursday morning.
"They remain in poor condition right now. The roads are slippery. There's a lot of ice, and right now there's blowing snow as well."
There were 25 passengers on the bus and two in the south-bound tanker truck, which normally carries crude oil but was empty at the time.
The bus lay on its side ina ditch Thursday morning with its front end mangled and windows smashed. The driver-side doorof the tanker was twisted open.
Police shut down a stretch of the highway about 100 kilometres south of Fort McMurray overnightto investigate the crash, butthe road isnow reopened to traffic.
Trucker saysHighway 63drivers get impatient
The province is in the process of twinning the single-lane highway, which has been the scene of several accidents, as traffic toFort McMurray, the oilsands hub,multiplies.
Nathan Bergen, who drives heavy transport trucks back and forth on Highway 63, said he'switnessed three fatal head-on crashes on the road.
Bergen saidthere aresmart drivers who adjust their speed in poor conditions, but he also sees those who take too many chances on the highway.
"And then you get people who pull up behind them and get impatient. And when they get impatient, they start doing reckless driving, like they'll pass when they really can't see what's coming toward them."