A bus loaded with camp workers supporting construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline crashed Friday north of Prince George, B.C., injuring 17 of the 30 people on board, the work camp operators said.
Horizon North, which runs a number of such camps in northern B.C., said in a Facebook post that the bus was transporting the company’s employees to a work site when it crashed.
“We are conducting a full investigation to determine the cause of the incident,” Horizon North’s statement said.
“We are in the process of gathering additional information and will communicate with all relevant stakeholder groups as the situation develops.”
In a written statement, TC Energy, the company behind the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, said the crash located 900 kilometres north of Vancouver involved a charter bus.
“We are grateful for the support and care of those individuals, and that this did not result in a more serious accident,” the statement said. “Any incident where workers or the community are involved is not something we take lightly.”
Prince George RCMP say no critical injuries have been reported among the 30 people on the bus that went off a forest service road and crashed 120 kilometres north of Prince George, B.C.
RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Cooper said Friday that numerous ambulances and police officers were dispatched to the site.
“It took us some time to get out there because of the distance and road conditions,” she said of the rain that fell on the region the morning of the crash.
She said initial reports indicated there were no critical injuries, but the distance from Prince George hampered communications as radio coverage is minimal in that area.
BC Emergency Health Services said the 17 patients were transported to hospital in a “wide range of conditions.”
B.C. Premier David Eby said that a phone line had been set up for family and friends of people who may have been involved in the crash.
“This has been a terrible 24 hours for vehicle fatalities and bus collisions,” Eby said, referring to the fatal collision between a bus and a semi-truck Thursday in Manitoba.
“British Columbians are certainly thinking about those who may have been injured in this crash.”
Cooper said the cause of the crash is still unclear, but early-morning rain on the gravel road made the conditions “quite poor.”
Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins said the University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George activated a “code orange,” used in cases where an influx of patients is expected that could overwhelm the hospital.
“When a code orange is called that can include bringing in additional staff resources, assessing patients that are already in the hospital or patients who are in the emergency department for any ability to have them discharged or transferred in order to increase capacity to receive patients from a particular incident.”
She said a bus was sent to the site of the crash to transport anyone who was not seriously injured.