OTTAWA [Canada]: An Indian-origin man from Amritsar was among the four who died when their bus overturned on an icy highway in British Columbia on Christmas Eve, according to Gurpreet S Sahota, editor of Charhdi Kala and Akal Guardian Punjabi Newspapers.
Although Canadian authorities have yet to confirm the identity of the deceased, the editor of a Punjabi newspaper in Surrey said that Karanjot Singh Sodhi, 41, of Butala, Amritsar, was among those killed in the accident.
"One of the four people killed in a bus accident on the Vancouver-Kelowna route on December 24 was Karanjot Singh Sodhi, 41... He was from Butala (Amritsar) and had only recently entered Canada on a work permit in Sept 2022," wrote Gurpreet S Sahota, editor of the Surrey-based newspaper Akal Guardian, on his Twitter account.
"He was employed as a chef in a restaurant of an Okanagan winery. He left his wife, a son, and a daughter behind in his Punjab village. He was travelling by bus since he believed it was secure," he added.
Earlier, the provincial Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) confirmed the news that four people were killed in the bus accident.
Medical teams at three area hospitals were treating at least 53 people after the crash, according to local health authority Interior Health, which said late Saturday that the incident on Highway 97C triggered a 'Code Orange' response -- a hospital designation used for disasters or a mass casualty event, reported CNN.
"Due to the exigent circumstances and injuries, many were transported to local hospitals prior to police having the chance to identify them at the scene," the statement said. Road conditions at the time of the crash were "very poor with ice and snow on the road surface along with rain and hail falling", said Const. James Ward in an update Sunday afternoon.
An information line has been set up for families to locate their loved ones involved in the accident, Interior Health said, reported CNN. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
The commercial passenger bus was traveling westbound on Highway 97C-Okanagan Connector when it went off the road and rolled onto its side in the eastbound lanes, according to the release.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash, which happened between Merritt and Kelowna. The area is roughly 100 km. (62 mi.) North of the Canada-US border, reported CNN.
The ministry released a traffic advisory after the highway reopened, warning of poor driving conditions on highways in the southern Interior due to snow and freezing rain.
The ministry urged drivers to avoid non-essential travel, use caution and be prepared for highway closures on short notice if they must be out on the roads.