A school bus driver is dead and 11 high school students are being treated for minor neck and back injuries after their bus crashed into a tree and ended up on its side this morning in Valcartier, northwest of Quebec City. 

The crash happened around 9:30 a.m. ET on Valcartier Boulevard.

Quebec provincial police have confirmed that the driver died following the crash.

"According to our preliminary information, after having discussed with the young students who were on board the bus, it seems the driver experienced a malaise," said Ann Mathieu, a spokeswoman for Sûreté du Québec.

Officers said it appeared the 53-year-old male driver lost control of the bus after suffering an apparent heart attack, but have yet to confirm whether a medical problem caused the crash.

School bus accident

A school bus ended up flipping over onto its side after the driver suffered some sort of medical problem and lost control of the vehicle. (JF Nadeau/Radio-Canada)

The Mont-St-Sacrement high school students aboard the bus were taken in by nearby resident Brigitte Simoneau until ambulances arrived to treat them.

"All these students were transported to hospital. The injuries are minor. We're talking about injuries to the neck and back, nervous shock as well, but it doesn't initially seem serious for the students," said Marco Labbé, one of the school directors.

Simoneau said the students were scared, but happy to not have fallen into the nearby river during the crash.

She said she was told the driver appeared to have a medical problem before crashing the bus into the tree.