Over 50 hospitalized after Christmas Eve bus crash in British Columbia

Dozens of people were taken to hospital late Christmas Eve after a bus accident on a British Columbia highway, Canadian officials said.

Medical teams were receiving 53 patients at three hospitals in the cities of Kelowna, Penticton and Merritt, Interior Health said on Twitter late Saturday.

Their conditions were not immediately available, but British Columbia’s Interior Health Authority said on its Twitter feed that it had initiated a “Code Orange” response to the accident.

Code Orange responses are activated after disasters or mass casualty events.

“We will make every effort to connect families with patients as soon as possible,” the authority tweeted.

British Columbia Premier David Eby and three government ministers said in a written statement that they were “shocked and saddened” to hear of the accident, which happened on the Highway 97C Okanagan Connector between Merritt and Kelowna.

“Our thoughts are with those impacted by the crash, their loved ones, and the first responders and health-care workers giving their all to treat people and keep them safe,” the statement said.

Additional details about the accident, including its cause, were not immediately clear.

A portion of both directions of Highway 97C was closed because of the accident.

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