Bus crashed through gates to hit train, says witness
By QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Six people are dead after a Via Rail train slammed into an Ottawa transit bus that apparently and inexplicably crashed through the crossing gates in southwest Ottawa on Wednesday morning.
Officials say 31 people were transported to areas hospitals and 11 of those are critical.
The crash happened at 8:48 a.m at the intersection of Woodroffe Ave. and Fallowfield Rd. in the Barhaven area of the city.
There is considerable damage to the double-decker bus, with the front almost entirely sheered off and metal scattering the roadway.
Mark Cogan was waiting about four cars back on Woodroffe at the time of the crash. He said both sets of guard rails were down at the intersection and the bus crashed through them.
“Everything was down, everybody was at a standstill,” he told QMI Agency. “(The bus) went through the guard rail.”
He said it appeared the train was slowing down as it approached Fallowfield station.
The crash could have been worse, he said, had the train hit the bus head on.
Instead, Cogan said the bus hit the train on the “second or third car.”
Cogan got out of his car to survey the scene. “People were filing out of the upper windows,” he said. “The whole left side of the bus, where the driver sits, was demolished.
Gregory Mech, who was on the bus, said the lights were flashing and rail crossings were down and passengers were screaming at the driver to stop.
Both Mech and Cogan also said the saw bodies after the crash.
“People were taking off their shirts, covering their faces,” he said.
Frantic family members flooded the area Wednesday morning looking for people who might have been on the bus.
The train came to a stop 100 or so metres from the scene. Via Rail has confirmed that no major injuries were reported on the train.
Train speeds and crossings through area have come up at city hall in the past.
Via was doing a risk assessment of running high-speed trains in the area.
Last April, the company said trains had been running between 60-70 km/h on average, but officials said Wednesday that they barely go 10 km/h through that particular crossing.
The city also paid a consultant to do an engineering assessment of the train crossing. Via Rail cancelled all Ottawa-Toronto trains for Wednesday
Via train, Ottawa city bus collide; 6 people dead - Canada - Canoe.ca
I'm sitting here thinking just how many time my children and myself have been on that train, it gives me shivers.