What was supposed to be a fun school ski trip on Friday for students of Wadena Elementary School ended up a frightening real-life exercise in emergency procedures.
About 8:30 a.m., the bus they were riding in was travelling south on Hwy. 35 just past the Hwy. 16 intersection near Elfros when it likely hit black ice, according to one witness. The bus crossed the highway, plowing into the east-side ditch before landing on its side.
Dwight Pomedli, whose daughter was on the bus, was quick to react when he received the call from the school regarding the accident.
“I just went right away. There was black ice — I couldn’t walk on the highway because it was so icy,” he said.
The 19 children from grades 4-6, along with two chaperones and the bus driver, were on their way to Mission Ridge near Fort Qu’Appelle for a day of skiing as part of the school’s winter fun day.
“Local EMTs did a wonderful job,” said Pomedli. “They were well organized, getting the students out of the bus and into hospital. And the hospital was quite well organized for treatment and assessment. It was like a triage centre. I know they’ve practised but they were amazing.”
As for injuries, Pomedli said there were lots of bumps, bruises and cuts, noting that his daughter probably sustained the worst injury as they were still waiting to hear what their next move would be with her broken collar bone.
“She will have to miss the dance competition this weekend,” said Pomedli.
Most reaction on social media was relief that no one was more seriously injured.
Wynyard and Wadena RCMP responded to the accident and were warning drivers that highway conditions were extremely icy at the time, and some areas were experiencing extreme fog. The highways were temporarily closed but reopened about two hours later.
By Alison Squires