No easy an­swers

Many ques­tions re­main about fa­tal Ot­tawa bus crash: po­lice chief

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - BY TERESA WRIGHT

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a deadly bus crash on a busy Ot­tawa route will not yield an­swers quickly, the city’s po­lice chief said Satur­day as he cau­tioned the pub­lic not to jump to con­clu­sions about the events lead­ing up to the col­li­sion.

Charles Borde­leau said of­fi­cers have plenty of work ahead of them as they probe the Fri­day af­ter­noon col­li­sion that killed three and in­jured 23 oth­ers.

The dou­ble-decker bus op­er­ated by lo­cal trans­porta­tion agency OC Transpo hopped a curb and struck a tran­sit shel­ter at about 3:50 p.m. just as rush hour be­gan. It plowed along a sta­tion plat­form and into the over­hang­ing roof of the tran­sit shel­ter, which carved deep into the ve­hi­cle’s up­per level and crushed a num­ber of seats.

The ma­jor­ity of the pa­tients in­jured in the crash have been re­leased from hos­pi­tal, po­lice said, with just one re­main­ing in crit­i­cal con­di­tion while six are listed as se­ri­ous and four are con­sid­ered stable.

Borde­leau cau­tioned that an­swers will be slow in com­ing as the po­lice tackle a mam­moth in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“There were 90 peo­ple on the bus, we have to speak to all of them,” Borde­leau said at a Satur­day af­ter­noon news con­fer­ence.

“It’s a slow, painstak­ing process. Our goal is to en­sure that we get it right.”

Jack Mail­loux was cy­cling home Fri­day af­ter­noon when he hap­pened upon the scene of the ac­ci­dent. Road blocks and dozens of emer­gency ve­hi­cles made it clear the in­ci­dent was not mi­nor, he said.

“I live in Car­ling­wood and that’s my bus stop when I’m not bik­ing. So it’s quite a con­cern.”

While the cause of the crash is still un­known, Mail­loux said he has of­ten noted the ex­press buses trav­el­ling through the area at high speeds. This par­tic­u­lar bus was not sched­uled to stop at the West­boro sta­tion, which is an­other as­pect be­ing probed in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mail­loux says his first thought was for his wife and son, who were sched­uled to be trav­el­ling through the area shortly after the crash.

“I was mak­ing sure where my fam­ily was. And when I got home I got a call from my daugh­ter who said, ‘It’s good to hear your voice, Dad.”’

The bus was at or near its full ca­pac­ity at the time of the col­li­sion, Borde­leau said Satur­day. Sgt. Cameron Gra­ham, of the force’s col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tion unit, said in­ves­ti­ga­tors would con­duct mul­ti­ple drone flights over the scene of the wreck­age, as well as gather data from the ve­hi­cle it­self and any avail­able video sur­veil­lance.

The badly dam­aged bus re­mained in place for much of the day Satur­day as in­ves­ti­ga­tors combed for clues.

This meant on­go­ing road clo­sures and de­tours in the sur­round­ing area. The bus was fi­nally towed away from the West­boro sta­tion late Satur­day af­ter­noon, about 24 hours after the col­li­sion.

The bus driver, ini­tially ar­rested hours after the crash, has since been re­leased un­con­di­tion­ally pend­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.


Of­fi­cials from Trans­port Canada look at the scene where a dou­ble-decker city bus struck a tran­sit shel­ter at the start of the af­ter­noon rush hour on Fri­day, at West­boro Sta­tion in Ot­tawa, on Satur­day.

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