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Over 50 hospitalized after Christmas Eve bus crash in British Columbia

The accident took place on the Highway 97C Okanagan Connector between Merritt and Kelowna, officials said.

Dozens of people were taken to hospitals 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 Kelowna, Penticton and Merritt, British Columbia’s Interior Health agency said late Saturday on Twitter.

Their conditions were not immediately available.Interior Health Authority on its Twitter feed that it had initiated a “Code Orange” response; 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.

Part of both directions of Highway 97C was closed.