Investigation into northern B.C. bus crash underway but all injured released
By The Canadian Press
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – RCMP investigators point to weather and slippery road conditions as possible factors in a bus crash north of Prince George, B.C., that sent 18 people to hospital.
RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson says there’s nothing to suggest the driver was impaired or did anything wrong before the bus slid into a ditch Thursday on snow-covered Highway 97.
The bus chartered by forest products company Canfor flipped partially on its side with 30 employees travelling from Prince George to the Polar Sawmill in Bear Lake.
Northern Health spokeswoman Eryn Collins says 11 people had minor injuries and the rest were more seriously hurt but everyone has since been sent home from hospital.
Canfor spokeswoman Michelle Ward says every worker had been released from hospital by 10 p.m., and operations at the Polar mill have not been affected.
WorkSafeBC, the organization that oversees workplace safety in the province, has confirmed by email that a safety officer has been assigned.
The crash occurred about 22 kilometres north of Prince George and closed Highway 97 for several hours, but Saunderson says the bus has been removed from the ditch and towed to Prince George for a mechanical inspection. She says bad weather was to blame.
“We don’t suspect the driver was impaired or decided to deliberately drive off the road. We don’t have anything to suggest anything was criminal in nature,” Saunderson says.