3 killed in bus crash at Ottawa transit station



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Three people were killed and nearly two dozen were injured when an OC Transpo bus hit a bus shelter at Westboro Station early Friday afternoon rush hour.

The single-vehicle collision involving the 269 westbound bus to Kanata took place on the Transitway around 15:50.

During a press conference on Friday night, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said two passengers and one person waiting on the platform died in the "horrible" accident, and 23 were injured.

The Ottawa Hospital said shortly after 8:00 p.m. that seven patients were in critical condition and nine in stable condition.

One person was also taken by ambulance to Queensway Carleton Hospital, although the condition of this patient has not yet been disclosed. There were no patients taken to the Eastern Ontario Children's Hospital, indicating that there were probably no children among the injured.

"Our hearts and condolences go to all the wounded [and] those family members who have lost loved ones, "Watson said.

"Our thoughts are also with others on that bus, at that station – those directly involved and those who witnessed the collision."

Flags in the city hall were reduced to half-mast, Watson said.

Police and rescuers work at Westboro Station, where a two-storey OC Tranpo bus hit the shelter Friday, January 11, 2019. (Justin Tang / The Canadian Press)

It was the chaos & # 39;

Pictures of the aftermath show scenes of chaos. One shows the first responders assisting a wounded person on the sidewalk in front of the double-decker bus, the front and part of their side ripped off. The front seats of the upper deck of the vehicle hang precariously in the open hole.

Bilal Gill was in the back of the upper level of the "crowded" bus when he started to divert, then hit the shelter.

"Many people started to scream, [including the] people in the front who got stuck under their seats, "Gill said. It was chaos in the beginning. "

Gill said police appeared quickly and began breaking windows to free the trapped cyclists.

"There were definitely people trapped, and there was some blood on the floor," Gill said.

Arrested driver

Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau said on Friday night that the most serious injuries occurred in the upper right corner of the bus, combining images of the scene.

Bordeleau said that "something" prompted police to arrest the bus driver but gave no details. She was taken to the police headquarters for further interrogations, he said.

Bordeleau also said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the crash, but police were analyzing the video and interviewing as many witnesses as possible.

"This will be a long investigation," said Bordeleau. "Our investigators will be working at night and in the morning to document the scene."

Annoying scene –

Ryan Baldasso, 34, walks the daily bus route from his home in Kanata. On Friday, his bus passed through the scene shortly after the accident.

It's awful. You never want to see anything like that.– Ryan Baldasso

"It's been a lot of anguish to see, it's horrible, you never want to see anything like that, everyone just wants to come home safe for their families and never think of things like that.

Emergency teams were called to Westboro Station in Ottawa after a collision involving a two-storey OC Transpo bus. (@ gabesimages / Twitter)

Police said the investigation into Friday's fatal collision involving an OC Transpo bus at Westboro station will be long. (@ SaveOurSenators / Twitter)

& # 39; Lineup of stretchers & # 39;

Emergency crews were cutting seats and windows from the front of the bus, probably to reach the passengers, said Gabe Rivett-Carnac.

"Everyone was certainly moving fast," said Rivett-Carnac, who arrived at the station about half an hour after the accident.

"Just judging by the programming of stretchers … I would say they were certainly acting with some urgency."

He said he saw at least 30 emergency vehicles at the station.

"Many people injured here"

In Broadcastify, an online service that provides access to emergency calls, a dispatcher can be heard saying, "I'm catching a double-decker bus that hit the terminal, maybe there are people stuck on the bus.

Shortly thereafter, a lifeguard reports from the scene: "Only on the second floor of the double-decker bus. There are a lot of people injured here."

He later reports, "We're on the side of the OC Transpo bus with a ladder trying to get people off the second floor … I do not know how many ambulances we have on the way, but we'll need some."

From 6:00 p.m., emergency responders were still on scene, as was the Ottawa Police Service's collision investigation unit.

Officials at Transport Canada and the Ontario Transport Ministry are also investigating.

Transitway closed

OC Transpo general manager John Manconi told reporters on Friday that the bus could have up to 90 passengers.

He said OC Transpo's "top priority" is the safety of its passengers and that the agency would be fully cooperating with the investigation.

As of 19:20, the Transitway was still closed in both directions between Westboro Station and Tunney Grassland Station, as well as Scott Street, near the scene of the crash.

Drivers are being encouraged to avoid the area, and OC Transpo buses were still being diverted.

People seeking information about family members involved in the Friday crash can go to Churchill's Senior Center at 345 Richmond Rd., Said the city of Ottawa.

They can also call the Canadian Red Cross at 1-855-797-8875.

With files by Denise Fung, Matthew Kupfer, Christine Maki, Joana Chianello, Tom Parry and Trevor Pritchard

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