Five people are in critical condition after a crash involving a school bus and a crane near Smoky Lake, Alta., on Monday morning.
The crash happened at Highway 28 and Range Road 180 around 8:30 a.m.
Aspen View Public Schools and RCMP said there were 14 children on the bus. According to Alberta Health Services, a total of 16 patients were assessed by EMS or taken to a hospital.
AHS confirmed five people were in critical condition as of 6:30 p.m. Monday.
One of those in critical condition is a teenage girl who was flown from the scene of the crash to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton by STARS Air Ambulance.
An adult was treated at Redwater Health Centre in Redwater, southwest of Smoky Lake while 14 others—13 children and a second adult—were treated at George McDougall - Smoky Lake Healthcare Centre.
However, after being assessed in Smoky Lake, two boys in critical condition were flown by STARS to the Stollery Children's Hospital. Two more children were later taken by ground ambulance to Edmonton in critical condition.
After that, an adult patient and two other minor patients were also taken to Edmonton. All three were said to be stable, although the adult and one minor had serious injuries, AHS said.
The driver of the crane sustained minor injuries, and a passenger in the crane was not injured.
The bus was taking students to H. A. Kostash School in Smoky Lake, which has pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 classes.
Families of all the students have been notified.
Aspen View Public Schools issued a statement Monday afternoon saying its thoughts were with students and families.
"We are very grateful for the first responders who attended to those involved and quickly directed them to appropriate medical care. We are working closely with the RCMP and Alberta Health Services to obtain accurate information, and provide assistance to everyone affected," Aspen View's superintendent, Neil O'Shea, wrote.
"Supports are in place to assist the H.A. Kostash School community, and we are committed to providing whatever assistance is needed, for as long as needed, while the outcomes from this incident become known."
Board of Trustees Chair Candyce Nikipelo added: "An incident of this nature is the fear of every parent in rural Alberta who puts their child on a school bus each morning. The hearts of families throughout Aspen View and rural Alberta go out to those involved.
The highway has since reopened though traffic delays are anticipated for a few more hours.
AHS said the emergency prompoted a "Code Orange" response at the George McDougall - Smoky Lake Healthcare Centre, meaning all site staff, departments and additional staff in the vicinity were immedately called to respond. Employee assistance and mental health support programs have been made available to staff.
With files from The Canadian Press
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