The cause of a rollover on the glacier that killed three people and sent two dozen to hospital has not been determined, in a July 20, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Rock slide ruled out: No cause yet for bus crash that killed three near glacier

Off-road vehicle carrying 26 passengers, plus the driver, slid about 50 metres down a steep embankment

RCMP say no cause has been found yet for a tourist bus rollover near a glacier in Jasper National Park that killed three people and injured 24, although officers have ruled out a rock slide.

Mounties on Monday remained at the Columbia Icefield between Banff and Jasper with a collision reconstructionist, occupational health and safety personnel, Parks Canada, and removal crews.

“Efforts are currently underway to remove the Ice Explorer vehicle,” RCMP said in a news release. ”However, it may take several days.

“The removal of the vehicle is a large undertaking due to the challenges involved with the area where it came to rest. The RCMP must also protect the physical integrity of the vehicle pending its examination as part of this investigation.”

The red-and-white, big-wheeled buses regularly take tourists up a rough rocky road onto the Athabasca Glacier. In this case, the off-road vehicle carrying 26 passengers, plus the driver, slid about 50 metres down a steep embankment and came to a stop on its roof near the glacier.

Police said collision reconstructionist have found no evidence that a rock slide caused the crash.

RCMP said they have notified the families of the three people killed, who have only been identified as a 24-year-old woman from Canoe Narrows, Sask.; a 28-year-old woman from Edmonton; and a 58-year-old man from India.

The 24 survivors were taken to hospital after being triaged out over several hours. Four were still in critical but stable condition as of late Sunday, police said. One was in serious but stable condition.

READ MORE: ‘It’s still surreal’: Authorities look for cause of deadly Alberta glacier bus crash

Alberta Heath Services had said earlier Sunday that 14 people had life-threatening head or pelvis injuries. Five others had broken bones and the remaining five weren’t badly hurt.

The president of the company that runs the tours with a fleet of 22 buses said Sunday that changes will be made, if necessary, once it’s known what went wrong.

“We started right away to review what happened, what is our process with our protocol at every step,” said Dave McKenna of the Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit.

McKenna said the Ice Explorers are off-road vehicles and seatbelts are not required. The buses aren’t allowed on highways and have a top speed of 40 km/h.

Tours have been offered on the glacier since 1969 and the Ice Explorers have been used since the early 1980s, but are constantly upgraded, McKenna said.

“We average about 480,000 visitors a year and we’ve been operating these vehicles since the early ’80s. We’ve had over 16 million passengers safely taken out onto the ice over all these years,” he said.

“Nothing serious with fatalities or critical injuries.”

Most of Canada’s national parks, including Banff and Jasper, reopened to visitors in early June after being shut down as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

The mountain parks are typically flooded with international visitors at this time of year but, with the pandemic shutting down most international travel, officials have encouraged all Canadians to explore their national parks this summer while respecting provincial public health rules.

Some of the more popular sites in the two national parks have been getting busier in recent weeks.

Highway 93 North, also known as the Icefields Parkway, remained open, but drivers were being asked to stay clear of the collision area so police and emergency workers could manoeuvre.

— By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton and Lauren Krugel in Calgary. With files from Bill Graveland

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

RCMP

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

Just Posted

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Search on for mushroom picker missing from near Kitwanga

Tommy Dennis was last seen Sept 16 wearing blue jeans, black cap, rubber boots, grey checked sweater

Northwest firefighters headed to Oregon to battle wildfires

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Another Telkwa councillor calls it quits

Councillor Rick Fuerst is the second Telkwa council member to hang up his hat since the 2018 election

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read