Alberta school bus crash 'not about pointing blame,' says mayor

One day after a horrific school bus crash in Crossfield, northeast of Calgary, the town's mayor says people need to focus on healing, not blame.

Crossfield Mayor Nathan Anderson says community's priority will be moving forward to heal

Nathan Anderson visited children injured in Friday morning's school bus crash 4:41

It will be important for residents of a small Alberta town near Calgary to support each other as they heal from a horrific school bus crash that sent nine children and the bus driver to hospital on Friday, said the town's mayor.

Crossfield Mayor Nathan Anderson was in Calgary Saturday to visit with families of the injured children, who are being treated at the Alberta Children's Hospital.

He says the town's priority going forward will be to make sure its members recover.

The scene of the accident at the intersection, that is northeast of Calgary, on Friday morning. (CBC)

"It's not about pointing blame," said Anderson. "My goal and our community's goal is to make sure everyone heals wholly and completely."

Three of the children were listed as being in critical condition Friday, but Anderson says he understands that has now changed.

He told CBC Calgary he has heard that eight of the nine children "seem to be doing reasonably well, on the mend," while the ninth is still being evaluated day-by-day.

Three boys remain in hospital but two, who are roughly 10 or 11 years old, are set to be released soon. 

Both have minor cuts, broken bones and are sore, Anderson said.

The third is in more serious condition but has improved since yesterday. 

Alberta Health Services has not confirmed the changes to the children's conditions.

Anderson says one of the young victims is friends with his son, and they have been focused on letting the families know that they are supported by the town.

"We're a big family and like any family, we're pulling together and using each other's strength to lean on," he said.

Bus driver's son worst off, say police

Police said Saturday the son of the bus driver sustained the most severe injuries of the nine children injured in the crash.

Ten people were on the bus, nine students and one driver. All were taken to hospital. One child, a five-year-old boy, was airlifted to the Alberta Children's Hospital in critical condition. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

The five-year-old boy was listed Saturday morning as being in critical condition and doctors are keeping him sedated to prevent him from moving around too much.

"He's doing better," said Anderson. "I mean, he's not out of the woods but things are looking up."

The female bus driver, who had at least one other child on the bus at the time of the crash, was also taken to hospital but there has been no word on her condition. 

The crash happened just after 8 a.m. MT on Friday near Crossfield, Alta., which is roughly a 40-minute drive northeast of Calgary.

All of the nine children who were injured either attended Crossfield Elementary School or WG Murdoch School in Crossfield, part of the Rocky View School Division. 

There is still no word on the cause of the crash, although RCMP have said the school bus did have a stop sign when it collided with a one-tonne truck on Highway 791 at Township Road 290.

A collision analyst was sent to the scene to investigate how the accident happened, but officials say it will take time to determine what went wrong.

Donations pouring in

Donations have been pouring in since the crash happened and Anderson says everyone is working together to help the families.

"It's been a roller-coaster," said Anderson. "It's been up and down but today is up."

His wife is in charge of distributing meals to the families and Anderson says he is making sure all of the families' parking, grocery and gas expenses are paid for during this time.

No official fundraiser has been planned yet.

However, Anderson says people who want to help can get in touch with the Crossfield town office.


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