A six-year-old child has been struck by a school bus and killed in St. Albert, on the northwest border of Edmonton.
The boy was walking to school at 8:40 a.m. with other students on Friday when he was struck by a bus turning right from Sir Winston Churchill Avenue onto Woodlands Road.
There are no lights at the intersection, which is marked by a crosswalk.
"All I saw is a little kid lying on the ground, almost underneath the bus, almost behind the wheel of the bus," said Flor Castro, who saw the aftermath of the accident.
"It was a horrible, horrible sight. … I was so heartbroken."
RCMP traffic analysts are investigating, although no charges have been laid. Police said the bus did not appear to be speeding.
The family of the boy, who was in Grade 2 at École Marie Poburan School, has been notified and is receiving support, said David Keohane, superintendent of the Greater St. Albert Catholic School District.
Keohane called the boy's death an "absolutely tragic loss" that will have a profound effect on the school, he said.
The bus was carrying students from the public school district at the time.
A critical response team is also at the school to support students, Keohane said.
Outside the school, parents reacted with shock after hearing the news. Cindy de Bruijn's son was a classmate of the boy who was killed.
"It's absolutely devastating because it was preventable," de Bruijn told media at the scene, her voice wavering.
"It's not surprising because I've had conversations with the mom who lost her little boy today about what we can do to make that intersection more safe other than getting in the vehicle with each of those drivers to tell them, 'Slow down and look. Don't turn without looking there are kids in that intersection all the time.' "
"The loss of a young life is tragic and, as a father, my heart breaks for the child's parents," Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson said in a news release. "My prayers are with the family during this difficult time."
"I encourage all to rally and join me in prayers and support for the family and all those involved and affected," St. Albert mayor Nolan Crouse said in a news release.
Later in the afternoon Thursday, a note was taped to a lamp post at the crash site stating that the family did not want any flowers or other items left.
"Heartfelt thanks for your understanding," it said.