A teenage girl died Wednesday when a school bus was rear-ended by a gravel truck in heavy fog near Redwater.
Thirteen students from kindergarten through high school were on the bus travelling to Thorhild Central School, said the superintendent of the Aspen View Public School Division.
“I’m shaken up because I’m a teacher, I’m a superintendent, I’m a father and these are the worst days for schools and the worst days for communities and it impacts us all,” said Mark Francis.
The grief in the community “cuts to the soul,” he said.
“It’s a very sad time, but there’s a lot of support in place for these kids because these families do know each other very well.”
Regular classes were held, though counselling services were made available to all students and staff at the school, Francis said.
Kerry Williamson of Alberta Health Services told CBC News that the teen girl was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver and the other children on the bus did not require medical attention.
The crash occurred shortly after 8 a.m. local time on Opal Road (Range Road 223) at Township Road 594, north of the hamlet of Opal, said RCMP Cpl. Mark Joy.
The school bus was turning onto Opal Road when it was rear-ended by the truck which was hauling gravel, Joy said.
“We had heavy fog here this morning which would be a contributing factor to what happened,” he said.
The surviving students were examined at the scene before being taken to the school where their parents picked them up, Joy said.
“It’s a very tragic incident because we have such a small community here,” he said. “It’s a very small, close-knit community and a very small school.”
Traffic was rerouted around the scene for most of the day.