A section of the Ottawa Transitway will remain closed today and police are blocking nearby roads as they continue their investigations into the tragic bus crash that left three dead and nearly two dozen injured yesterday afternoon.
A two-storey OC Bus OC transpo crashed into a bus shelter at Westboro Station early Friday afternoon rush hour, in a scene that witnesses described as "chaos."
Police said investigators worked through the night to identify the three victims and contact their families and loved ones.
"This work continues this morning and no information on the identity of the three will be released at this time," a statement said.
OC Transpo said its Saturday routes serving Westboro and Dominion stations are in the turnoff between the Lincoln Fields stations and Tunney's Pasture due to the shutdown. Police also blocked Scott Street between McRae and Athlone avenues for cars.
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.
Ottawa Hospital said seven of its patients are critically ill, and nine are in stable condition on both campuses.
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."
Police expect "a long investigation"
Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau said the driver of the bus involved in the crash was taken into question but was later released on Friday, awaiting further investigation.
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."
Officials at Transport Canada and the Ontario Transport Ministry are also investigating.
Bilal Gill was in the back of the bus on Route 269 when the collision occurred.
"The bus started to divert, I think it hit the curb or hit something. It started to change, the driver could not get back control and just hit the Westboro shelter," he told CBC.
"A lot of people started screaming, people in the front got stuck under their seats."
Witnesses said rescuers had to break windows and use ladders to free passengers trapped in the upper deck of the bus.
"There were definitely people trapped and there was some blood on the floor," Gill said. "It was chaos in the beginning."
OC Transpo general manager John Manconi told reporters that the bus could have up to 90 passengers and that the agency would be cooperating fully with the investigation.
The Family Reunion Center at the Churchill Senior Citizens Center has been closed, but people seeking information about family members involved in the Friday crash can call the Canadian Red Cross at 1-855-797-8875.