Several deaths in bus crash
Three dead in doubledecker bus crash at Westboro Station, with almost two dozen hurt
three people are dead and 23 were injured Friday afternoon after a westbound double-decker oc transpo bus filled with commuters smashed into a bus shelter at Westboro Station in ottawa.
the extent of the injuries of those who survived is not yet known.
Major Jim Watson said in a press conference that two people died while on the bus, while the other died standing on the shelter platform. twenty-three others were injured.
Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said the female driver of the bus was arrested and taken in for questioning. “Something led us” to arrest her, he said. he asked any witnesses to contact police.
Photos taken by witnesses on the scene showed the front of the bus smashed in and victims lying on the ground. the crash happened at 3:50 p.m.
Multiple first responders rushed to the scene. Paramedics said the crash involved multiple injuries and some of the injuries were critical. one person was being treated at the scene.
Coun. Jeff Leiper said more than a dozen people have been taken to hospital. First responders used ladders to get to the damaged second floor of the bus.
In a brief statement to reporters at the scene, Bordeleau confirmed the crash involved a westbound route 269 bus bound for Kanata.
“as a result of the collision, we have a number of injuries and some fatalities that occurred,” he said. “the ottawa Police Service responded in partnership with the ottawa Paramedic Services and the ottawa Fire Service where they rendered immediate help to the victims and the passengers on the bus and on the platform.”
the bus took off part of the shelter’s structure, said a paramedic. one witness described half of the second story of the bus being gone.
the Civic campus of the ottawa hospital declared a Code orange at 4:37 p.m. the hospital would call a Code orange in the event of a disaster in the community. the hospital said it received nine patients in critical condition.
the Queensway Carleton hospital said it received one patient by ambulance and several walk-in patients from the crash.
the number of fatalities was confirmed as of early Friday evening.
as multiple ambulances, police and firefighters rushed to the scene, oc transpo was asked to stop sending buses into the transitway to make it easier for first responders to access victims.
one eyewitness who preferred not to be named described the bus driver hitting ice, which launched the bus into the side of the Westboro transit station, taking out a sign and then hitting an overhang on the side of the shelter.
the damage “goes back about 10 rows.” the witness said the bus was full and the collision was “very serious.”
a woman that was on the bus vividly remembers the moments before the crash. “I remember hearing the bus driver saying, ‘oh my god, oh my god, oh my god’,” she told Postmedia a little more than an hour after the crash occurred. the woman, a member of the military, declined to give her name. “the bus was full, every seat was taken, plus there were people standing in the middle row, so they were flying back.
“People just started screaming. there was some kind of fluid leaking, so everybody just started jumping out of the window in the seat that I was in.
“you couldn’t get out the doors. two people, for sure, flew out of the top front, maybe more.
“the bus driver, was fine, she was not injured. I hurt my knee and wrist but not bad.
“there was nothing out of the ordinary (on the trip). It just happened so fast. I would assume she hit the curb. It was pretty crazy.
“there was glass everywhere. one guy I was helping, his foot was facing the other way and he had blood all over his face. he was top left, second from the front.
“one person on the road was unconscious, the other one was conscious but pretty beat up. It was awful. “I’m worried about those people. Most of the people on that bus were coming from the rideau Centre, (national defence) hq stop.”
Several witnesses described a scene eerily similar to a 2013 bustrain crash that killed six people. Photos showed injured passengers lying on the ground being treated.
an eyewitness said she saw at least 15 emergency vehicle rushing down Scott Street toward the crash. another eyewitness said she heard sirens, and when she looked over the railing above the station she saw that “the whole top of the bus was totalled.”
the top section of the front of the double-decker bus was smashed in by the shelter’s overhang, all the way back to the stairs on the bus, so people were unable to get down from the top floor, she said.
“I heard a lot of people screaming, trying to get off the bus. they were stuck in there.” emergency responders were smashing the windows, yelling, “glass.”
“I couldn’t believe it, me and my best friend fight to sit at the front of the bus. and now I’m just ... terrified, it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”
She saw a man pulled from the bus, bandaged and strapped to a board. “he was in pretty bad condition, I don’t even know how to describe it, he had his head wrapped but there was a lot of blood.”
“I was shocked to hear of this horrific incident at Westboro Station,” said Watson in a statement on twitter. “My first thoughts are with those who have been injured and their families. I have asked staff to ensure all necessary resources are made available to assist them through this difficult time.”
Police and first responders work at the scene where a double-decker city bus struck a transit shelter Friday in Ottawa.