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Pedestrian killed on Hwy. 97 following bus crash that caused 'numerous' injuries

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A pedestrian was struck and killed on Highway 97 in the B.C. Interior early Friday afternoon as emergency crews were responding a school bus crash that caused “numerous” injuries to those on board.

The bus – which was transporting children from 100 Mile Elementary and Horse Lake Elementary – crashed near Lac La Hache around 1 p.m.

In a statement, B.C. Highway Patrol said there was a "subsequent collision" on the highway involving a pedestrian, who died despite life-saving efforts from paramedics on scene.

Authorities have not provided any further details about the deceased.

More than a dozen ground and air ambulances responded to the bus crash, along with crews from several local fire departments.

While officials have not confirmed exactly how many people were hurt, BCHP said "numerous people" from the bus – which was carrying more than 30 students and staff from School District 27 – were taken to hospital with "varying injuries."

Authorities said early indications are that the school bus went off road and down an embankment, which aligns with an image posted on social media after the incident.

The students were returning from a field trip to Gavin Lake when the bus crashed, according to the local superintendent.

In a statement, Supt. Chris van der Mark said the district was reaching out to parents to inform them of the incident, and that anyone with a child on the bus should meet at a "reunification site" at the South Cariboo Recreation Centre in 100 Mile House.

"Our first priority is for students and staff on the bus," van der Mark said. "We will have more to communicate once all information is known."

B.C. Emergency Health Services said 11 ground ambulances and seven air ambulances were dispatched to the scene, along with two supervisors and an area unit chief.

The crash closed Highway 97 near the Butler Road intersection for several hours, and 100 Mile House RCMP asked drivers to avoid the area pending further notice.

"The highway is currently shut down to all traffic in both directions to allow first responders to safely attend and assess the scene," the detachment said in a statement Friday afternoon. "We are asking the public to avoid the area until further notice to allow crews to work."

According to DriveBC, the route remained shut down as of 5:30 p.m., and no detour was available. 

Correction

This story has been updated to correct the location of the Cariboo Recreation Centre. It is in 100 Mile House, not Williams Lake.

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