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

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Here are Kitimat’s 10 worst streets and intersections for collisions

A look at the top 10 roads and intersections for crash numbers in Kitimat.

Pretivm Resources reports fatality at Brucejack mine

The isolated incident occurred last Friday, and the employee passed away on Sunday in hospital

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

“How many more years is this going to continue?”: Kitimat resident wants better District response to front yard sinkholes

The sinkholes are caused by an aging storm sewer, which the District says they are working to fix.

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Most Read