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Information and details continued to come in yesterday from the day camp activity accident in Bromptonville on Wednesday, when a tractor pulling a trailer with 53 people on it flipped in a field coming down a hill.
As reported yesterday, many of the victims were young children aged between 8 and 12 and were immediately rushed to both of the CHUS stations in Sherbooke either by ambulance or by city bus.
Fifteen people were severely injured in the accident, which brought 60 first responders to the site, including nine ambulances, six fire trucks and fifteen police cars, the first of them arriving nearly seven minutes after the initial 911 call was made according to Sherbrooke fire department division chief StĂ©phane Simoneau.
The situation was âvery chaoticâ said Simoneau. The chaos was understandable, given the amount of young children involved with the accident, with even those who werenât injured being in distress and emotional shock over seeing their friends in pain.
According to Simoneau, the biggest challenge was sorting out which injuries were the worst and which children should be sent off first to the hospital.
One of the worst injured was the tractor driver himself, a man in his 60âs who was quickly rushed to Fleurimontâs trauma ward. The medical staff at the hospital apparently feared for his life upon his arrival, before upgrading his condition to stable soon after.
As reported yesterday, additional staff were called into the hospital, including some who were on vacation. The process once the injured arrived at the hospital went smoothly, according to Jacinth Ouellette, a spokesperson for the CHUS âThe organization was great, everyone was ready. We had practiced drills for this kind of situation and it showedâ she said in a statement.
She explained the situation as âeerily similarâ to a case she had been through a couple years ago when a bus going from Saguenay to Boston flipped on its side, injuring many children.
A special room was set up at the hospital for the families of the victims, where social workers were on hand to help the families cope and handle the psychological stress âWe announced to the parents that no oneâs life was in danger, that there was no rush for them to get here and that they should drive carefully when coming to see their childrenâ said Ouellette.
When the dust had settled, 13 children and two adults were kept hospitalized overnight. Three of them were kept in intensive care as they suffered from head injuries and respiratory problems, whereas the twelve others were in serious condition but considered stable.
The majority of children hospitalized were for minor scrapes and nervous shock, a total of six people involved with the accident suffered fractures, lacerations and open wounds.
A spokesperson for the Sherbrooke Police Service told the Record yesterday that police investigators have been put on the case but it is too early to tell what will come of it.
Both the tractor and the hay trailer are being inspected as of yesterday and the question of whether or not it is legal for people to be standing on a moving trailer is being looked into.
Criminal charges may be pending under provincial laws for off-road driving. A police spokesperson told the Record the main issue will be determining if or not the driver followed the proper safety precautions before loading the children on to the trailer.
âAs of right now, there is too much information still missing and it would be premature to predict the outcome to all of thisâ the spokesperson told the Record.