School bus impaled by tree trunks after collision north of Edmonton in Barrhead

The RCMP and Barrhead Fire Department responded to a collision in the city of Alberta Tuesday morning in which several tree trunks ended up crashing into the side of a school bus.

It happened at 8:37 at the intersection of 53 Avenue / Highway 18 and 49 Street / Grizzly Trail / Highway 33, near the Fas gas station in the center of town.

A spokesman for the Alberta RCMP said a logging truck turned around as some tree trunks on the overhang swung out and drove through the side of the school bus.

A school bus was impaled on beams in Barrhead, Alta. Tuesday, November 2, 2021.

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Police said no one was injured.

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Sgt. Bob Dodds with the Barrhead RCMP department said he was grateful no one was seriously injured.

“I’m a parent too,” he said. “My children rode the school buses in the small communities.

“We just have to make sure we respect the school buses when they come and go,” he said, adding that the investigation into what happened is still ongoing.

The bus belonged to the Pembina Hills School Division, which said there were elementary school, youth and high school students on bus # 25 when the accident happened.

Michael Borgfjord, school inspector, told Global News that there would normally be 31 children on the bus, but on Tuesday there were 21 children and two adults on the bus for morning delivery. The kids were of all ages.

“We are very lucky that the students are safe,” he said. “In this day and age, with social media, you really want to communicate with parents quickly … just to let them know they’re fine.”

Borgfjord said that one person received a minor injury.

“I think everyone at the start is in shock and is relieved that there is no major damage out of this event,” he said.

“I just happened to get out of the office at 8.30am and saw by chance two logs sticking out of one of our buses, and I think whenever one of those things happens, all your crisis response planning and your training. .. from a transport side and from a school level inserts.

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“First of all, you are concerned about the safety of the students and the safety of the people on the bus, and once that happens, you can start debriefing and look at what is going to happen next.”

Borgfjord said that he realizes that for some people, the shock of what happened can only occur a few days after the incident, and that the school board will ensure that there is support for students and staff.

The bus belonged to the Pembina Hills School Division, which said there were elementary school, youth and high school students on bus # 25 when the accident happened.

The school inspector told Global News that there would normally be 31 children on the bus, but on Tuesday there were 21 children and two adults on the bus for morning delivery. The kids were of all ages.

Parents were contacted by telephone, the department informs.

“The school department will continue to provide support to students and families taking into account their emotional needs due to this incident,” the school department said in a statement on its website.

A school bus was impaled on beams in Barrhead, Alta. Tuesday, November 2, 2021.

Credit: Bryce Driessen

Bill Lane is a County Councilor in Barrhead and saw the aftermath of the incident on his way to a council meeting.

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“I was thinking, ‘What the hell?'” He told Global News. “When I found out it was my grandchildren who might have been in there, well, I was pretty worried.”

He said his grandson was later found near the school, “pretty shaken and scared and covered in a lot of glass.” He said he has since learned that she was sitting on the other side of the bus from which the trunk came in.

Lane said he believes the number of logging trucks coming through the city could be dangerous and that it is something he would like to look at.

“Fortunately, no one was seriously injured,” said Dave McKenzie, mayor of Barrhead.

He said people in the area have previously expressed concern about the provincial highways and that work has been done over the years to alleviate congestion there. However, he said that “historically, it has never been a really dangerous crossroads” given how much traffic goes through there.

The road remained closed for a few hours while crews cleaned up, the RCMP said shortly before noon. 10.30. The road reopened around noon. 13.30.

Barrhead is located about 100 miles north of Edmonton.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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