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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.

There is conflicting information about the number of students on the bus.

A spokesperson for Aspen View Public Schools said there were 14 students on board, later updating the number to 15. However, later in the day, RCMP said there were only 14 students on board.   

A teenage girl was flown from the scene of the crash to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton by STARS Air Ambulance.

STARS flew two other flights to the Smoky Lake Healthcare Centre, and transported a teenage boy and a young boy to the Stollery as well. All three patients transported by STARS are described as being in critical condition.

Alberta Health Services said two more children in critical condition were taken by ground ambulance to Edmonton.

All other bus passengers, as well as the driver, were taken to the Smoky Lake Healthcare Centre to be assessed.

Officials have not clarified which patient is in life-threatening condition. 

The driver of the crane was taken to hospital with 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 the following written statement on Monday afternoon.

"Our thoughts are with the students and bus driver involved in the collision this morning, and their 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. 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."

"An incident of this nature is the fear of every parent in rural Alberta who puts their child on a school bus each morning,” Nikipelo said. “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. 

With files from The Canadian Press

More on this story from CTVNews.ca