A bus accident on the Okanagan Connector (Highway 97C) in the early evening of Dec 24 took four lives, according to RCMP.
The rollover happened as the bus was heading toward Merritt and Vancouver on the Connector about 6 p.m. Fifty-two patients were taken to four Interior Health hospitals.
Interior Health said today (Dec. 25, 2022) that upon arrival 36 patients were assessed and treated for injuries that ranged from serious to minor.
As of 9:30 a.m. today, eight patients remained in the care of hospitals in Penticton, Kelowna and Kamloops. For those remaining in hospital, two were in serious condition and two had non-life threatening injuries.
One report said the bus was operated by Ebus and that the highway was extremely icy at the time of the crash.
A central phone line (250-545-2211) was established for families needing information about the location of loved ones.
“Although the number of patients remaining in hospital is low, this is a life-altering incident for all involved, from the initial physical injuries to the emotional and spiritual impacts of an incident such as this,” IH said.
“Our thoughts are with the families and patients, as well as the many first responders at the scene, who were impacted by this tragic incident.
“Our deep gratitude to the many Interior Health staff and physicians already working or who came in to the hospitals to help care for the high number of patients who needed immediate care.”
Premier David Eby, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, released the following statement on the bus accident last night:
“On this Christmas Eve we are shocked and saddened to hear of the serious bus accident on the Highway 97C Okanagan Connector between Merritt and Kelowna.
“Our thoughts are with those impacted by the crash, their loved ones, and the first responders and health-care workers giving their all to treat people and keep them safe.”