Hos­pi­tals re­leas­ing vic­tims of bus crash

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MER­RITT, B.C. — Al­most half of the pas­sen­gers taken to hos­pi­tals af­ter a tour bus flipped over on a Bri­tish Columbia high­way have been re­leased, health of­fi­cials said Satur­day.

The news pro­vides some re­lief af­ter all 56 peo­ple on board the bus were in­jured while it was re­turn­ing from a tour of the Rocky Moun­tains. The pas­sen­gers were tourists from Canada, main­land China, Hong Kong, Tai­wan and the United States.

Fraser and In­te­rior health au­thor­i­ties said 26 of the 55 peo­ple taken to hos­pi­tal have been dis­charged.

The In­te­rior Health Au­thor­ity said three peo­ple are in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, and two more are be­ing treated for se­ri­ous in­juries — a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease from the last up­date.

On Fri­day, seven peo­ple were listed in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, while six oth­ers were be­ing treated for se­ri­ous in­juries.

RCMP said in a news re­lease some chil­dren were on board, but none suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries when the bus crashed about a three-hour drive from Van­cou­ver.

Once the accident oc­curred, au­thor­i­ties ini­ti­ated a code or­ange re­sponse, which means hos­pi­tal work­ers should get ready for mass ca­su­al­ties.

Dar­shan Lind­say of the au­thor­ity said things ap­pear to be go­ing back to nor­mal at in­te­rior hos­pi­tals, which at the time of the accident were filled with ex­tra staff who were scram­bling to keep up with the in­flux of pa­tients.

“Since then as pa­tients have been treated, things have def­i­nitely nor­mal­ized,” she said. “We’ve seen many dis­charges as well.”

“We have seen some pa­tients move from the se­ri­ous con­di­tion to non-lifethreat­en­ing con­di­tion be­cause they have seen some im­prove­ment.”

The ve­hi­cle was car­ry­ing a tour group or­ga­nized by Su­per Va­ca­tion, a com­pany based in Rich­mond, B.C., which de­scribes it­self as the largest Chi­nese tour op­er­a­tor in North Amer­ica.

The com­pany has said it has been in con­tact with some of the pas­sen­gers and was try­ing to fig­ure out ways to help. Su­per Va­ca­tion has said the bus was op­er­ated by Western Bus Lines, which de­scribes it­self as a com­pany with 35 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­vid­ing safe, re­li­able and af­ford­able trans­porta­tion.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have yet to de­ter­mine the cause of the in­ci­dent but have ruled out speed and road con­di­tions af­ter RCMP viewed video of the crash. Po­lice have said me­chan­i­cal in­spec­tions are un­der­way and will al­low them to de­ter­mine if the cause was faulty steer­ing or brak­ing.

— The Cana­dian Press

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