RCMP are investigating a crash between a school bus and a picker truck near the community of Smoky Lake, Alta., that sent one student to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The crash happened at the intersection of Highway 28 and Range Road 180 at around 8:30 a.m. Monday. RCMP said the bus was heading north on Range Road 180 and the picker truck was heading west on Highway 28 when the collision occurred.
A spokesperson from the Aspen View Public School Division said the bus was taking students to H.A. Kostash School, a K-12 school located in Smoky Lake. There were 14 students and one driver on the bus at the time, Ross Hunter said.
Alberta EMS said up to 15 patients were taken to hospital.
One youth was flown to Edmonton by STARS Air Ambulance with serious, life-threatening injuries, RCMP said. Another student was taken by ground ambulance to Edmonton with serious, non-life-threatening injuries, according to RCMP.
The rest of the students and the driver were taken by a second bus to the Smoky Lake healthcare centre for further assessment, Hunter said.
The driver of the picker truck was taken to hospital with minor injuries, according to police. A passenger in the picker truck was not injured, police said.
The families of the students on the bus have been notified, Hunter said shortly before noon, and supports for students and staff are in place at the school.
Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange took to social media to say she is “deeply saddened to learn of this accident.
“I am closely monitoring the situation and will provide the school board and the affected families with whatever support I can. My heart is with these students, and I want to thank our first responders for their rapid response,” she said on Twitter.
At around 11 a.m., there were at least seven RCMP vehicles on scene, as well as a couple of ambulances.
Traffic in the area was being rerouted around the collision site Monday morning.
Drivers are asked to avoid the area or expect delays.
Crews from the Smoky Lake fire department, as well as the town’s mayor, were also on scene Monday morning.
The intersection is located about five kilometres west of the town of Smoky Lake, which is about 115 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.
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