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Updated: 2nd December 2019 17:41 Edmonton·Updated

Students in critical condition after school bus crash near Smoky Lake, Alta.

Eight people are in hospital in Edmonton, including five students in critical condition, after a collision Monday between a school bus and truck-mounted crane near Smoky Lake, Alta.

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14 students were on board when bus struck a truck-mounted crane

A school bus and a truck-mounted crane collided on a highway about five kilometres west of Smoky Lake, Alta., early Monday morning. (Alex Tardieu/CBC News)

Eight people are in hospital in Edmonton, including five students in critical condition, after a collision Monday between a school bus and truck-mounted crane near Smoky Lake, Alta.

Police said 14 students were on the bus when the collision happened around 8:30 a.m. MT. 

The bus was northbound on Range Road 180 and the crane was westbound on Highway 28, about five kilometres west of the town. 

Cpl. Ron Bumbry, RCMP media relations officer, said the intersection had stop signs on Range Road 180 where it met the larger highway.

"It was a controlled intersection where Highway 28 goes through direct," he told reporters Monday afternoon. "The school bus was driving and had a stop sign and did appear to stop at the stop sign and then attempted to cross." 

Students were on their way to H.A. Kostash School, a kindergarten to Grade 12 school in Smoky Lake, said Ross Hunter, a spokesperson for Aspen View Public Schools.

The scene where a school bus and a truck collided near Smoky Lake on Monday morning. (Alex Tardieu/CBC News)

"All the students and the drivers were removed from the scene in fairly short order following the collision," Hunter told CBC News. 

Adam Kozakiewicz said he was two seconds away from being involved in the crash. The Smoky Lake chief administrative officer was on his way to work when he witnessed the collision. 

"I phoned 911 and tried to help everybody there," Kozakiewicz said. "There was lots of blood around and a lot of hurt people."

He provided a couple of blankets to the cold, frightened students. He said he heard screams, moaning and students talking about their heads hurting. 

STARS air ambulance said it made three flights from Edmonton to the area and back. 

One went directly to the scene and flew a teenage girl in critical condition to the Stollery Children's Hospital, it said in a statement.

The other 13 students and the school bus driver were taken to hospital in Smoky Lake for further assessment, some with injuries and others for observation.

STARS flew a physician from Edmonton to the help with triage at the Smoky Lake health-care centre, then transported two male students back to the Stollery — one adolescent and one child — it said.

Five other patients — four youngsters and an adult — were transported by ground ambulance to Edmonton. Two were in critical condition, two were serious but stable and one was in stable condition, AHS said. 

Bumbry said there were two individuals in the mobile crane. The driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to Redwater Health Centre, about 50 kilometres west of Smoky Lake, according to a statement from Alberta Health Services. 

The passenger did not suffer any major injuries, Bumbry added.

An investigation is underway, the RCMP said. 

Smoky Lake is a community of some 960 people, about 115 kilometres northeast of Edmonton. 

With files from The Canadian Press

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