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Dec. 26 (UPI) — Authorities in Canada said four people were killed and dozens were injured when a bus ran off the road in British Columbia on Christmas Eve.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement that the single vehicle crash occurred at about 6:15 p.m. Saturday on Hwy 97c, near Merritt, which is located about 185 miles northeast of Vancouver.

Fifty-two people were transported to four local hospitals, with 36 of them receiving treatment for injuries that ranged in severity from minor to serious, Interior Health said in a statement.

As of Sunday morning, eight patients remained hospitalized.

“Although the number of patents remaining in hospital is low, this is a life-altering incident for all involved, from the initial physical injuries to the emotional and spiritual impacts of an incident such as this,” it said. “Our thoughts are with the families and patients, as well as the many first responders at the scene, who were impacted by this tragic incident.”

The RCMP described the road condition at the time of the accident as “very poor” due to ice, snow, rain and hail.

Preliminary information shows that the bus was traveling westbound on the highway when it ran off the road and rolled onto its passenger side. Authorities said they arrived at the scene to find the bus in the eastbound lane.

The incident is currently under investigation, and authorities said the driver was cooperating with police.

Ebus, the operator of the vehicle, confirmed in a statement that it was and will continue to cooperate with police amid its investigation.

“Our thoughts and sympathy are with those injured and grieving at this time,” it said.

In a statement, British Columbia’s health minister, Adrian Dix, offered his condolences to the victims and his appreciation to the first responders.

“When mass casualty protocols were activated, healthcare workers from across the region rushed to assist, including 16 [BC Emergency health Services] ground ambulances & two aircraft,” he said.

“To the first responders, dispatchers, firefighters and bystanders who were on scene to help with this challenging situation, you were all heroes.”

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Four killed, dozens injured in British Columbia bus crash – Vigour Times

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