Wilson’s Transportation, Myra Falls (NVI Mining), the RCMP, even Transport Canada are investigating last week’s bus crash that injured 12 passengers homeward bound from work.
Even so, Wilson’s Transportation Vice President John Wilson says “preliminary indications are, from us and the RCMP, that treacherous road conditions are to blame 100 per cent.”
Further Wilson has dismissed “rumours” that the bus had bald tires.
“I guarantee you that’s not the case,” he told the Mirror. “Rest assured that the bus had brand new tires on one axel, fairly new tires on another axel and snow tires on the drive axel.
“When the ambulance stopped to get the people at the site, they got out of the ambulance, the ambulance started sliding down the hill,” he added.
The roll-over accident happened Dec. 14 at 6:45 p.m. on Highway 28 near Elk River Main Line.
Of the 14 riders, including the driver, 12 people were taken to hospital. On Tuesday two passengers were still recovering in Campbell River Hospital: Pat Jeffery with rib and lung injuries; and Dennis Fawcett with rib and spinal injuries.
Bill Garton, president CAW Union Local 3019, is also satisfied that road conditions were the sole factor in the accident.
“The bus was good, the driving was good, the tires were good, but the roads hadn’t been attended to and had about four to six inches of really wet slush on them at the time,” he said.
Ironically, NVI Mining safety employee Rick Kretzschmar had conducted a safety meeting earlier in the day.
Garton says: “Actually it was about the safety equipment that we have carried on the buses. We have a certain amount of safety equipment that we demand the buses carry in case there’s any kind of accident.”
Wilson’s Office Manager Wendy Hawes has also come to the defence of the unidentified driver.
“He has been driving bus on that road for three years and for many years before that as a trucker,” she said. “He did everything he could within his range of expertise.”
Transport Canada Communications Officer Wes Freeman told the Mirror, “We will have a role (in the investigations), but it is too early to say what that will be.”