RCMP say they have footage of B.C. tour bus crash; speed likely not factor

Video footage from a dashboard camera has allowed investigators in British Columbia to rule out speed as a potential factor in a bus crash on a mountain highway where dozens of tourists were injured as they were returning from a trip to the Rocky Mountains.

MERRITT, B.C. — Video footage from a dashboard camera has allowed investigators in British Columbia to rule out speed as a potential factor in a bus crash on a mountain highway where dozens of tourists were injured as they were returning from a trip to the Rocky Mountains.

The RCMP has yet to determine why the bus lost control Thursday afternoon on a section of the Coquihalla Highway, south of Merritt, sending the vehicle skidding across several lanes and rolling into a ditch, ejecting numerous passengers. Police have said 56 people, many of them from East Asia, were on the bus.

Health officials said seven people remained in critical condition and six were in serious condition by mid-morning on Friday. Of the 43 people treated by Interior Health, 11 others remained in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and 19 had been released, said health authority spokeswoman Michaela Swan.

Swan said Fraser Health, the neighbouring health authority in the Fraser Valley, had 12 patients in stable condition.

RCMP said several children were on the bus, but none suffered serious injuries.

Sgt. Brian Nightingale said dash-cam footage captured by a tractor-trailer travelling behind the bus indicated speed was likely not a factor, leaving human error or mechanical failure as possible causes.

“It’s more an issue that the driver drove into the centre median and then veered too hard trying to get onto the road,” Nightingale said.

“We’re doing mechanical (inspections) today on the bus, so that will rule out any kind of mechanical factors, like steering and braking and that kind of stuff.”

RCMP said in a news release that the highway was dry at the time of the crash and visibility was not an issue.

The release said passengers on the bus were from Canada, the United States and China, but they did not have a detailed breakdown of the passengers’ nationalities.

The passengers were on a tour 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 the bus was returning to Vancouver from a trip to the Rocky Mountains and was travelling between Kamloops and Vancouver when it rolled over.

Company spokesman L. Lau said many of the passengers are from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, though he said some are from B.C. and elsewhere in Canada.

Lau said his company has been in touch with some of the passengers and has been figuring out ways to provide assistance.

“We have been planning for everything right now,” said Lau, who declined to give his full name. “Of course, some of the patients we can’t see.”

Lau said the bus was operated by Western Bus Lines, which he said is a “major local bus company with 35 years of experience.” Western Bus Lines, based in Kelowna, did not reply to repeated voice messages and emails.

“We are waiting for the police report,” Lau said.

Abraham Lin, director of consular services for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vancouver, said his office had confirmed two of the patients are Taiwanese nationals, a 20-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman.

“They are just studying for the summer and they joined the bus tour for the Rocky Mountains,” Lin said.

Lin said his office had been in touch with one of the Taiwanese passengers and had contacted the other’s parents in Taiwan.

Neither the Chinese embassy in Ottawa nor the consulate in Vancouver could be reached.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. consulate in Vancouver said the consulate had contacted the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and was told there were no American citizens at the facility. American officials hadn’t yet been able to reach other hospitals.

Photos from the scene on Thursday showed the white bus upright, with visible damage to its side and the Western Bus Lines logo mostly scraped off. Passengers and emergency workers could be seen standing alongside the bus, with debris strewn about the road.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read