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Man dies trying to help after school bus goes off the road south of Williams Lake

The Grade 6 and 7 pupils were on their way back from a field trip
Emergency crews work at the scene of a bus crash near Lac La Hache, B.C. on Friday, June 21, 2024.

One person is dead after being struck by a vehicle while trying to assist at the scene of a school bus crash on Highway 97 Friday afternoon just outside Lac La Hache.

Reports indicate the bus went over an embankment. Castanet's reported Friday night that a person was hit by another vehicle at the scene after the bus crash, quoting a witness who said the man left his vehicle and was crossing the highway to check on the crashed bus when he was hit.

B.C. Emergency Health Services headed to the scene but despite life-saving efforts the man did not survive, RCMP stated.

There were more than 30 people on the bus including students and adults who have all been accounted for. Parents were being asked by school district officials to go to the South Cariboo Recreation Centre in Williams Lake, and to stay away from the crash scene. Police were working with the school district to help reconnect parents with their children, police reported.

"A school field trip to Gavin Lake had been returning students to 100 Mile Elementary and Horse Lake Elementary," School District 27 Supt. Chris A. van der Mark said in a statement shortly after the incident. "Emergency responders are on site and leading the response on the ground."

There were few injuries to students, van der Mark said. "Most importantly, all students and staff are accounted for and being checked out medically."

The B.C. Highway Patrol division of the RCMP offered more details later Friday, saying multiple air ambulances, paramedic ground crews and several local fire departments responded.

The Highway Patrol, 100 Mile House RCMP and the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service were investigating the cause of the collisions.

The bus was travelling on Highway 97 just north of Lac la Hache when it went off the road and down an embankment, RCMP report.

The highway was closed for the investigation, and later reopened.

Anyone with dash camera footage or who witnessed either collision is asked to contact B.C. Highway Patrol at 100 Mile House at 250-395-2456.

The crash site is about four hours south of Prince George.