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Students escape after Vernon school bus flips on its side

It was every parent’s nightmare as a bus full of children flipped over Thursday.

Emergency crews helped 19 students crawl out of a Vernon Christian School bus after it struck an icy patch on Rimer Road and ultimately ended up on its side.

“All of the students were taken to hospital for observation,” said Gord Molendyk, RCMP spokesperson.

Three students were kept at the hospital for further review, but there were no serious injuries.

“All students were walking, talking and generally, by all accounts OK,” said Corinne Remple, VCS marketing and communications co-ordinator.

“Students and staff gathered at the school this morning to pray and debrief.”

The incident occurred at 8:25 a.m. when the bus was coming down an icy section of Rimer Road.

The driver put the front wheel of the bus in the shallow ditch to prevent it from skidding on to Pleasant Valley Road and possibly over a steeper ditch on the other side. In the process, the bus overturned and came to rest on its side.

The accident occurred at the same time the BX-Swan Lake Fire Department was responding to a house fire in the neighbourhood.

“Our rescue unit was coming down Rimer Road and watched it flip on its side,” said Bill Wacey, fire chief.

“They stopped and assisted with any of the injuries.”

The students were forced to climb out of a hatch in the vehicle’s roof.

“It was quite a shock to see,” said Wacey of the incident.

As soon as word of the accident was received, the school began ensuring students and parents were receiving accurate and up-to-date details.

“Personal phones calls have been placed to connect with parents of those students who were on board,” said Rempel, adding that staff and counsellors were also at the accident scene and at the hospital.

Molendyk has praise for the bus driver.

“It looks like the driver took all of the precautions he could to protect his passengers,” said Molendyk.

The RCMP crash analyst was on scene Thursday to investigate the accident further.

“We want to ensure everything that can be looked at is looked at,” said Molendyk.

 

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