More than 20 students on a school bus in northern Alberta escaped serious injuries Tuesday after some logs impaled the side of the vehicle they were travelling in.
A logging truck was making a turn at the intersection of Highway 18 and Highway 33 in the town of Barrhead, 120 kilometres north of Edmonton, when the logs struck the bus.
The accident happened at around 8:30 a.m. MT, RCMP said in a news release.
The bus was stopped at the intersection when the accident happened, according to a statement posted by the Pembina Hills School Division on its website.
"A logging truck had a couple logs dislodge and went right through [a side] window, crushing part of the roof and knocking out some seats," school division superintendent Michael Borgfjord told CBC's Edmonton AM on Wednesday.
"It was a pretty horrific and traumatic event for many students and staff."
Borgfjord said the bus driver had 22 passengers — 11 elementary school students, 10 in junior and senior high, and a program assistant. He said it was fortunate that nobody was sitting in the seats hit by the logs.
One student was taken to hospital with a "probable concussion," while others had minor scrapes, he said.
Borgfjord was on scene about a minute after the accident. The bus driver had gotten everyone out, he said.
"My first thought was, 'I sure hope everyone's OK,'" Borgfjord said. "It did not look pretty, and you know, a big log can do some serious damage."
Kids from the bus were scared and other people were in disbelief "that this actually happened," he said.
All the students gathered at the nearby elementary school, where they were assessed by emergency medical technicians and guidance counsellors. Parents were contacted individually and told what had happened.
Staff were debriefed at the end of the school day and will be observing the children involved, Borgfjord said.
"Sometimes in situations like this, the feelings don't emerge for a few days. I think a lot of kids are in disbelief, so they're going to be monitoring them and make sure there's going to be support."
The injured child's parents were advised to follow concussion protocols, the school division said.
"All parents and staff are asked to continue to monitor students who were involved in this incident," the statement said.
"The school division will continue to provide support for students and families in consideration of their emotional needs due to this incident."
The truck driver faces charges for the vehicle being overweight and improperly loaded, said an RCMP spokesperson.