14 people injured after bus overturns in heavy rain near Quebec City

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Province of Québec, Canada.

14 people were injured after a bus carrying 39 students and five chaperones veered off the road and into a ditch South of Quebec City before overturning at about 9:30 p.m. local time yesterday evening. The bus was about 45 minutes from the city, close to the town of St. Patrice de Beaurivage

The bus was returning to the city with students from a day trip to watch the manufacture of maple syrup. 12 students and two chaperones spent the night in hospital, with the most serious injury being a broken collarbone suffered by a chaperone, who remained in hospital. All people on board were injured to varying degrees, but most sustained only small cuts and bruises.

Although most sources put the toll of injured at 14, some say 16. School officials and the Quebec police agreed that none of the injuries were life-threatening.

The students were all middle school students from The Wheeler School, a private school in Providence, Rhode Island. The head of the middle school described the students as "resilient" and as having "high spirits", and said that "they bounce back really quickly.".

Councillors were made available to parents and students.

It is thought the accident occurred when the driver lost control in a heavy storm. Ann Mathieu, a provincial police spokeswoman, said the weather at the time of the crash "was very, very rainy and the visibility was not too good." She said the crash happened when the bus skidded and the driver swerved to try to keep it on the road, causing it instead to overturn. She also said that charges are unlikely as a result of the incident and that no mechanical problems could be found with the bus. She told reporters that neither alcohol nor excessive speed were factors in the accident. The bus is thought to originate from Massachusetts as it has a Massachusetts license plate.