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)

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

Members of Huu-ay-aht First Nations conducted two checkpoints on Monday, May 10, asking people who enter the territory to respect the sacred principles and to act accordingly while on Huu-ay-aht land. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Huu-ay-aht First Nations set up checkpoints in territory

Access restrictions come after forestry incidents

Bulldogs forward Brandon Buhr is knocked off the puck by Grizzlies defenceman Lindsay Reid. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs beaten back-to-back by Victoria Grizzlies

Victoria Grizzlies named Island Champions while Bulldogs take second place

In 1903, if you were looking north down First Avenue with Alberni in the distance, this is what you would have seen. Scattered houses along River Road are visible, as is the corner of Watson Block building in the lower lefthand corner of the photograph. This photo is part of the 24,000 online collection of the Alberni Valley Museum. View this one and more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN02975 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Historic street scenes of Port Alberni

Take a peek back in time with the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives

This photo shows Franklin River Camp "B" circa 1940. Logging was started in the Franklin River area by Bloedel, Stewart & Welch in 1934. This is one of 42 photos of the Franklin River area, donated together in an album put together by the donor's husband, Stanley Young. Young worked as a highrigger in the Franklin River area from 1939-46. This is one of 24,000 photos contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN10830 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Logging along Franklin River

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Valley Museum

Getting enough Vitamin D can be challenging for Canadians, especially during winter months. (CONTRIBUTED)
ACTIVE LIVING: The ‘sunshine vitamin’ plays a vital role in our health

Port Alberni registered dietitian Sandra Gentleman writes about health issues

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Most Read