British soldier 'killed in Canada crash'

One British soldier died in the crash and 16 others were injured, three of them critically.

One British soldier has been killed and 16 others injured in a mini bus accident in Canada, according to reports.

The bus carrying British Army personnel rolled over in heavy rain on Highway 1 in Alberta, Canada, the BBC reported. No other vehicle was involved in the accident, according to reports.

The 16 soldiers reportedly hurt in the accident were taken to various hospitals by road ambulance with injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to more serious head injuries.

It is unknown at this stage what caused the accident and investigators are looking into whether it was mechanical, the result of driver error or down to the poor weather conditions, the BBC said.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We are aware of reports of an accident involving British service personnel in Canada. We are looking into reports and are unable to comment further at this stage."

Three people were critically injured in the accident. The bus was reportedly travelling westbound en route from the Suffield military base near the town of Bassano to Calgary 80 miles away.

"It was a British bus, military bus, with 17 passengers and a driver. And of these, one is deceased, three are critical," said Canadian military spokesman Captain Lou Marselje. Capt Marselje said he believed the rest of the injured were walking wounded.

The British soldiers were training at Canadian Forces Base Suffield in south-eastern Alberta, Associated Press reported. The base, just to the west of the town, is the largest Commonwealth military training base. For decades it has been used by the British military to train armoured battle groups.

Freezing rain was falling at the time of the crash although it is not known if this was a factor in the accident. The highway was closed to both eastbound and westbound traffic.

An MoD spokesman said: "We can confirm that 17 British service personnel travelling in a coach have been involved in a road traffic accident near Bassano in Canada. We are unable to confirm reports of fatalities or injuries. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), supported by the Royal Military Police, are investigating the incident."