A woman died after a van collided with a BC Transit bus on Highway 3A near Castlegar on Thursday.
RCMP said in a statement Monday that the bus was headed eastbound when it was sideswiped by an oncoming Purolator courier cube van just after 4:30 p.m.
There were 18 passengers on the bus including 16 students visiting from Quebec as part of a Selkirk College program. One of the students was an 19-year-old woman who was sitting next to the window where the van hit the bus.
She was transported first to Trail’s Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, then to Kelowna General Hospital. RCMP confirmed Monday afternoon she had died.
Premier John Horgan issued a statement Monday evening expressing his condolences. He said his government is working with the Government of Quebec to assist the impacted families.
“Sadly, one young life was lost and many others were left with injuries,” said Horgan. “My thoughts are with these students, their loved ones and the Selkirk College community at this difficult time.”
The highway was closed for several hours. RCMP Victim Assistance and Selkirk College counsellors have since begun helping the students who were on the bus.
The students were visiting the West Kootenay as part of the Explore Program, a five-week program run by Selkirk College that immerses Quebec students in English language.
“Our hearts go out to the students’ family and friends, to whom we offer our most sincere condolences,” said Selkirk president Maggie Matear in a statement. “The college community grieves with the other students in the program, our faculty and staff who were just getting to know the student, and all those who are feeling this tremendous loss.”
The driver of the van was not seriously injured, according to RCMP.
The collision is under investigation and RCMP are requesting any witnesses to come forward, specifically those who may have seen the van drive into traffic. Anyone with information is asked to call BC Highway Patrol Nelson at 250-354-5180 and cite file 2022-3153.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated the victim was 18 years old. RCMP have updated their information to say she is 19.