3 dead, 23 in­jured when Ot­tawa bus hits shel­ter

Medicine Hat News - - NATION -

OT­TAWA Three peo­ple were killed and 23 in­jured when a dou­bledecker city bus struck a tran­sit shel­ter in Ot­tawa on Fri­day af­ter­noon, Ot­tawa Mayor Jim Wat­son says.

The driver of the bus was ar­rested at the scene, Chief Charles Borde­leau of the Ot­tawa po­lice added at an evening news con­fer­ence at Ot­tawa city hall. He wouldn’t say why she was de­tained rather than sub­mit­ting to ques­tions vol­un­tar­ily.

“Some­thing led us to hav­ing to ar­rest the in­di­vid­ual and take them to the sta­tion,’’ Borde­leau said.

The crash took place west of down­town at 3:50 p.m., at the be­gin­ning of rush hour, just as dusk was be­gin­ning to set­tle on the cold­est day of the winter so far in the cap­i­tal. The bus was west­bound for Kanata, a more dis­tant Ot­tawa sub­urb, Wat­son said.

Two of the dead were rid­ing the bus; one was on the plat­form at West­boro sta­tion, a ma­jor stop on the city’s busway, he said.

Pho­tos posted on Twit­ter showed ex­ten­sive dam­age to the front of the bus, with the roof of a shel­ter hav­ing carved deep into the vehicle’s second deck after the vehicle jumped the curb and plowed along the plat­form.

“Most of the se­ri­ous in­juries were on the up­per-right side of the bus,’’ Borde­leau said. “I want to ex­press my sor­row and con­do­lences of the Ot­tawa po­lice ser­vice and other emer­gency ser­vices.’’

Paramedics said a to­tal of 25 peo­ple were taken to hospi­tal, sug­gest­ing one of the vic­tims could not be re­vived at the scene and the other two died after ar­riv­ing. Of those trans­ported, 14 were in crit­i­cal con­di­tion and 11 were in se­ri­ous con­di­tion, para­medic chief Myles Cas­sidy said in the news con­fer­ence.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion will take a long time and likely will mean the clo­sure of the busway and nearby roads for at least many hours, Borde­leau said.

Gabe Rivett-Carnac ar­rived at West­boro sta­tion on a dou­ble-decker bus him­self about an hour be­fore the crash. He was in his apart­ment across the street from the sta­tion when he started hear­ing sirens just after 4 p.m.

He went out­side and came across a “chaotic’’ scene, with at least 30 emer­gency ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing seven or eight fire trucks, and lots of po­lice and by­standers, he said.

“You could see the en­tire front por­tion of the bus had been de­mol­ished or cut away, and fire­fight­ers were on lad­ders cut­ting out the top floor win­dows,’’ he said. “I saw one per­son be­ing low­ered from the top floor in a seated po­si­tion.’’

He said he could tell there would be deaths given the dev­as­ta­tion at the scene.

“Based on the way it looked, if there was any­body at the front of the bus at the top ? I can’t see how they would’ve been able to get away from that,’’ he said.

His part­ner usu­ally gets off the bus at that sta­tion when com­ing home from work but she hadn’t gone in on Fri­day, he said, and now they’re check­ing in with all their fam­ily and friends who live in the area to see if they’re OK.

“You get a knot in the pit of your stom­ach. I felt like vom­it­ing a cou­ple of times. It’s not a com­fort­able thing to wit­ness and I can’t imag­ine ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it.’’

In 2013, an Ot­tawa bus col­lided with a Via Rail train in sub­ur­ban Bar­rhaven, killing six peo­ple.

CP PHOTO JUSTIN TANG

Po­lice and first re­spon­ders work at the scene where a dou­ble-decker city bus struck a tran­sit shel­ter in Ot­tawa, on Fri­day.

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