UPDATE, Dec 25, 9:10AM —

Highway 97C between Merritt and Kelowna has reopened following a major vehicle incident involving a passenger bus that send 53 people to hospital.

Interior Health Authority confirmed that 53 patients were sent to three different are hospitals, include Merritt, Kelowna, and Penticton. The authority confirmed that a Code Orange response, signalling a disaster or mass-casualty event, has been implemented at the facilities as they deal with the influx of patients.

There has been no word on any casualties that may have been a result of the crash. Interior Health has established a dedicated phone line for the families of passengers to check in on their status. Premier David Eby, Health Minister Adrian Dix, Minister of Transportation Rob Fleming, and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth released a joint statement on the crash.

“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 read.

To reach Interior Health’s patient status line for this incident, call 250-545-2211.


Highway 97C between Aspen Grove and Peachland has been closed on Christmas Eve due to a major motor vehicle incident involving a passenger bus that reportedly crashed near Loon Lake.

RCMP confirmed in a release that police and BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) are assessing the scene. Police are not releasing further information at this time. BCEHS said in a tweet that multiple ground units are on scene, with more on the way.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

For road closure updates, visit www.drivebc.ca.