OTTAWA — A glacier tour bus rolled over in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta on Saturday afternoon, injuring several passengers, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The police said in a statement that emergency workers from a variety of agencies were descending on the scene of a “motor coach rollover” near the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park.
Tanya Otis, a spokeswoman for Pursuit, the company that operates tours of the ice fields, said the incident involved one of its special, all-terrain buses that ferry visitors onto the glacier. She had no further information about what caused the accident which took place on a steep, unpaved service road used to reach the glacier.
A photograph from a bystander posted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation showed the red and white bus badly damaged, on its roof and well down the embankment from the road.
The ice fields are a major international tourist attraction and are part of the Athabasca Glacier, one of the largest in the Rockies.
Sabrina Atwal, a spokeswoman for Alberta Health Services said that several hospitals in the province were preparing to receive patients including people in “critical and serious condition.” At least three helicopter ambulances had been dispatched to the park.
One of those witnesses, whose report could not be verified, said on Twitter that he was stuck with several other passenger on another “ice explorer” bus that was forced to stop after the incident at about 2 p.m. local time. The man wrote that he saw the other bus lose “control and roll over.”
Rob Kanty, who witnessed the rollover after finishing an earlier bus tour, said in an email that it appeared the bus encountered a rock slide. He estimated that 15 people were on board at the time of the rollover and added that the buses did not have seatbelts.