The death of a 52-year-old school bus driver in a crash involving a fuel tanker truck has people in the rural Saskatchewan community of Melville reeling.
The woman, who has not been identified, was transporting four youngsters for the Good Spirit School Division in east-central Saskatchewan when the crash, on Highway 46 south of Melville, occurred Friday around 4:15 p.m. CST.
"I know our bus drivers are well trained and cautious," Walter Streelasky, the mayor of the small city of Melville, told CBC News on Friday. "Sometimes events like this are so hard to explain."
According to Streelasky, three of the four youngsters on the bus were transported to hospitals in Regina and Saskatoon.
"The fact they are being airlifted and transported to the provincial hospital sites suggests it's a serious situation," Streelasky said.
Officials confirmed Friday that four children were being treated for injuries, but provided no additional information on their condition nor their ages.
Streelasky said two of the youngsters were from the same family and were taken to hospital in Saskatoon. The fourth child on the bus was hospitalized in Melville.
RCMP said the driver of the tanker truck was not injured.
The crash took place about 15 kilometres south of Melville, a community of 4,100 about 150 kilometres northeast of Regina.
Collision reconstruction experts were on the scene long into Friday night and police said their investigation into the cause of the crash could take some time.
Skid marks were clearly visible on the pavement and the site of the crash was near an intersection with a rural road.
According to Transport Canada's most recent statistics, school buses are involved in an average 2,500 collisions a year, injuring about 500 students.
According to the Good Spirit School Division website, Oct. 18 is noted as school bus driver appreciation day for the province.