Friday, May 17, 2024

Tragic Christmas Eve bus crash near Kelowna leaves four dead and 53 in hospital

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A tragic collision involving a bus travelling in adverse weather in BC left four people dead and 53 people hospitalized on Christmas Eve.

At approximately 6:14 p.m. BC Highway Patrol and Merritt RCMP responded to a single vehicle  collision near Loon Lake on Highway 97C.

Police say a commercial passenger bus had gone off the highway on the left side of the road. It flipped and rolled onto its side and was left flipped in oncoming traffic. According to police no other vehicles were involved in the collision. 

Merrit RCMP have not released the exact number of passengers who were on board, but they have said that approximately 53 passengers were sent to hospitals for treatment in Kamloops, Kelowna and Penticton.

(Google Maps)

Over the couple days since the tragic collision, police have been trying to locate and speak with all passengers. 

According to police, four passengers have been confirmed dead. Merritt RCMP is attempting to contact the next of kin for the deceased and will not provide any further details about them until their families have been notified. 

Victoria Buzz has reached out to Merritt RCMP to inquire if any of the passengers were locals to Vancouver Island, but are waiting to hear back from their team who is busy dealing with the aftermath of the collision. 

At the time of the collision, the road conditions were described as being, “very poor with ice and snow on the road surface along with rain and hail falling.”

RCMP collision re-constructionists are working to determine what may have happened to cause the bus to crash in the way that it did.

Police say the incident remains under investigation. 

Local authorities have set up a central phone line for friends and family seeking information as to the location of passengers at (250) 545-2211.

Police ask that anyone who witnessed the collision or has dash-cam footage of the bus travelling westbound on Highway 97C prior to the collision, contact their local RCMP.

mm
Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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