A rolled-over tour bus rests where it fell on the Columbia Icefield near Jasper, Alta., Sunday, July 19, 2020. RTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Seven survivors of Alberta tour bus rollover near Jasper file lawsuit

The seven plaintiffs are from the High Prairie and Whitecourt areas

A northern Alberta woman who survived a fatal tour bus crash in Jasper National Park this summer says she is one of the lucky ones, but her recovery will be long and painful.

Sweta Patel, 27, from High Prairie, Alta., is one of seven people who have filed a lawsuit against operators of the vehicle involved in the rollover.

Three people, including her uncle and a friend, died July 18, when a glacier sightseeing bus rolled off a road on the Columbia Icefield. Fourteen suffered life-threatening injuries.

“Sometimes in your life a quick moment can change everything. For me and my friends, July 18 was that moment,” Patel said Wednesday.

“Though I survived, I am left with devastating mental and physical injuries. I now live a completely dependent life, filled with a series of doctors and legal appointments.”

Brewster Travel Canada Inc., Viad Corp., Glacier Park Inc., Brewster Inc., Brewster Tours, Banff-Jasper Collection Holding Corp., the unidentified driver and an unidentified employee of one of the tour operators are named in the statement of claim.

Patel, who wears a halo head brace for her neck injury, appeared at a news conference in Edmonton with her husband, who was also hurt in the crash.

She said she has a C1 fracture in her neck that is still healing and could be permanent.

“I have over 20 fractures and the pain that I go through every day — it’s not easy,” she said.

“Financially, we are also struggling at a time when there is extra economic uncertainty across the county.”

The seven plaintiffs are from the High Prairie and Whitecourt areas, but have been told to stay in Edmonton for better access to treatment for their injuries.

“Overall, I think the lasting effect is the trouble my clients have had trying to get their treatments covered through this tour bus company,” said Basil Bansal, a lawyer with Diamond and Diamond LLP.

The lawsuit alleges that the operators failed to ensure the bus was safe, failed to provide seatbelts, employed a driver who acted recklessly and unreasonably, failed to carry out proper inspections and failed to properly train their drivers.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

This is the second legal action against the tour bus operators. In August, an application for a class-action lawsuit was filed by James H. Brown and Associates with the Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary.

The lead plaintiff in that lawsuit is Devon Ernest, 22, from North Battleford, Sask., who was on the tour with his girlfriend, Dionne Durocher of Canoe Narrows, Sask., and his cousin Winnie Ernest.

Durocher died at the scene.

The class action, which so far includes 10 of the 27 people on the bus, must be approved by a judge if it is to go ahead.

Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three young Sylvan Lake residents are asking for lights to be added to the walking trail system to make them safer and less scary at night. Photo by @workinonmyfitness72
Young Sylvan Lake residents ask for lights to be added to walking trails

Three young Sylvan Lake residents appeared before Council recently to present their ask

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Town of Sylvan Lake recieves funding to help with COVID-19 related revenue losses

Minister Devin Dreeshen says the funding will help the Town pay staff and provide services

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo by The Associated Press)
Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Pilots Ilona Carter and Jim Gray of iRecover Treatment Centres, in front of his company’s aircraft, based at Ponoka’s airport. (Perry Wilson/Submitted)
95-year-old Ilona Carter flies again

Takes to the skies over Ponoka

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. Alberta Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz says the province plans to bring in a new way of licensing and monitoring child-care facilities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Alberta proposes legislation to change rules on child-care spaces

Record-keeping, traditionally done on paper, would be allowed digitally

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read