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Christmas Eve bus crash on B.C. highway sends 53 people to hospital

Christmas Eve bus crash on B.C. highway sends 53 people to hospital

Dozens of individuals remained in hospitals Christmas Day after a crash involving a passenger bus the night earlier than on Freeway 97C, the Okanagan Connector, close to the Loon Lake exit.

Phrase of the crash got here when DriveBC, the communications arm of the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, tweeted about a “automobile incident” that shut the freeway round 7 p.m. PT Saturday. At round 8:30 p.m., B.C. Well being Emergency Companies tweeted that a number of units of emergency responders had been on the scene.

Inside Well being, the native health-care authority, mentioned in a press release at round 10 p.m. they weren’t able to offer the extent of the accidents for individuals who had been despatched to hospital, together with whether or not there have been any fatalities. No trigger was instantly supplied for the crash. The authority mentioned 53 individuals in complete had been despatched to hospitals.

Freeway 97C, or the Okanagan Connector, is a 224-kilometre stretch of highway that runs east from Cache Creek within the central Inside to Kelowna within the Okanagan Valley, B.C.’s third-largest metropolitan space.

The passenger bus crash on Christmas Eve occurred close to the Loon Lake exit of B.C. Freeway 97C, which is 330 kilometres east of Vancouver within the Southern Inside. (Jay Bertagnolli/CBC)

Well being Minister Adrian Dix mentioned the incident prompted Inside Well being to provoke a Code Orange response to offer emergency care. Code Orange is mostly used to explain a mass casualty or catastrophe state of affairs at hospitals.

Medical groups had been receiving the sufferers in Penticton Regional Hospital, Kelowna Common Hospital and Nicola Valley Hospital in Merritt, in accordance with Inside Well being. 

Inside Well being mentioned Sunday morning on Twitter it has arrange an info line for households to find family members concerned within the accident: 250-545-2211.

“In these conditions, Inside Well being prompts employees in important care areas such because the emergency division, medical imaging and surgical procedure to help pressing sufferers,” Dix mentioned. “My deepest gratitude to the primary responders and medical groups who responded instantly to the decision.”

Premier David Eby expressed his condolences to the individuals injured within the crash via social media.

“Shocked and saddened by the information of a severe bus accident between Merritt and Kelowna on the Okanagan Connector,” a Twitter submit from Eby learn.

In line with DriveBC, the bus crash occurred close to the Loon Lake exit of the freeway, which is 330 kilometres east of Vancouver and round 85 kilometres west of Kelowna.

DriveBC mentioned the freeway connecting Merritt and Kelowna was closed in a single day between West Kelowna and Aspen Grove.

It reopened round 8:20 a.m. Christmas Day, in accordance with DriveBC.

The crash comes after every week of winter storm warnings introduced important snow all through B.C., together with to the southern Inside the place the crash occurred.

A particular climate assertion from Surroundings Canada, issued Saturday afternoon, warned that snow blended with ice pellets or freezing rain is predicted within the Okanagan Valley beginning Sunday.