More than 50 people were taken to hospital after a passenger bus crashed on a highway in interior British Columbia, local health officials said.
Few details about the crash have been released, but Interior Health tweeted that 53 people were being treated at three hospitals in Kelowna, Penticton and Merritt.
Local health officials said they have implemented a code orange response to signal the occurrence of disasters or mass casualties. It said additional critical care staff are working in areas such as the emergency department, medical imaging and surgery to support emergency patients.
It was not immediately announced whether anyone died in the crash or the condition of the patient. Health officials have set up an information line for families wanting to know more about their loved ones.
The incident occurred on Highway 97C Okanagan Connector between Merritt and Kelowna on Christmas Eve, closing more than 81 kilometers of road between Junction Highway 97 and Aspen Grove in both directions.
BC Premier David Evey, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Transport Minister Rob Fleming issued a joint statement on Saturday evening, expressing their shock and grief over the crash.
“Our thoughts are with those affected by the crash, their loved ones, and first responders and medical workers who are doing everything in their power to treat and keep people safe,” the statement said. has read.