BC Freeway patrol updates Christmas Eve Ebus crash, numbers altering – Kelowna Information
Crash numbers changing
Rob Gibson – Dec 27, 2022 / 2:45 pm | Story: 403432
Photo: CTV News
New information, including the number of passengers on board an Ebus that crashed near Loon Lake on Hwy 97C east of Merritt on Christmas Eve has been released.
The incident was first reported at 6:14 p.m. Saturday evening when the BC Highway Patrol and Merritt RCMP were advised of a single vehicle collision east of Merritt.
Police and emergency services responded and located a commercial Ebus that had gone off road to the left and rolled onto its passenger side coming to rest in the eastbound lanes.
“At this time investigators believe the bus was occupied by 45 passengers and the driver. It is believed that 46 persons in total were on the bus. Investigators are attempting to confirm this number. We can confirm, tragically 4 passengers were found deceased at scene. It is believed that 22 passengers were transported to the Kelowna hospital, 6 to Penticton hospital and 13 to Merritt hospital. The 4 deceased were transported by the BC coroners service. No passengers were left at the scene and the area around the collision was searched by first responders,” says Const. James Ward, spokesperson for the BC Highway Patrol.
BC Highway Patrol investigators tells Castanet the bus was travelling west along Hwy 97c from Kelowna towards Merritt when it encountered adverse road conditions. The E-bus went off road left, crossed the median and flipped onto its passenger side coming to rest in the eastbound lanes. “Passers-by and local residents provided assistance by allowing passengers to warm up in their vehicles and providing blankets while emergency services arrived. All passengers were transported by BC Ambulance Service to local hospitals. There were no other vehicles involved in the collision. The E-bus was equipped with seat belts, unfortunately it appears the majority of passengers were not wearing them,” Const. Ward says.
The bus trip was a regularly scheduled bus trip from Kelowna to Vancouver and the passengers were a mix of local, non local and foreign nationals.
According to Const. Ward, “the road conditions were fluid, transitioning from clear wet roads to frozen with ice and snow on the road surface due to the time of day (sun setting) and changing weather conditions. Rain and hail was falling. RCMP Collision Re-constructionists (have) attended the scene.”
This matter is still under active investigation. The E-bus remains in RCMP custody pending the investigation. The BC Highway Patrol is working with E-bus to return luggage and personal effects from the bus to the passengers.