Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Atleast 5 Confirmed Dead As Via Train And OC Transpo Double Decker Bus Collide In Ottawa.

According to the Ottawa police and fire officials at least five people are dead and several others are injured after an OC transpo bus and a Toronto-bound Via Rail train collided this morning in Ottawa.
At least seven people have been taken to hospital, and at least three people are reported to be in critical condition.
People who were aboard the double-decker OC Transpo bus said passengers repeatedly shouted at the driver to stop the bus moments before it collided with the passenger train at a level crossing on a dedicated transit road in the suburb of Barrhaven.
Tanner Trepaniere, a student who was sitting in the bus' upper level, said passengers could see the westbound train bearing down on them.
"People started screaming, 'Stop, stop!' because they could see the train coming down the track," Trepaniere told The Canadian Press after the crash.
A woman told CTV News that the bus driver applied the brakes after people screamed, but by then it was too late.
Witnesses said the rail crossing's safety barriers were lowered and its warning lights were functioning at the time of the horrific crash, which sheared off the front end of the bus.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada and police are investigating to determine why the bus did not stop for the train.
The crash occurred north of the intersection of Fallowfield Road and Woodroffe Avenue, near Fallowfield Station, around 8:45 a.m. as people headed to work or school.
Pascal Lolgis, who witnessed the crash, said the bus appeared to drive through a lowered crossing barrier.
"Boom! It went into the train like that," Lolgis told The Canadian Press. "He didn't stop. He must have lost his brakes. Or he had an ... attack or whatever. He just didn't stop. He just keep going like that. Then he get hit."
Another witness, Mark Cogan, said the rail barrier was down.
"The train is going through," Cogan said. "And I was just looking around, just watching things happen. And noticed that in the bus lane, the double-decker bus ... I saw him and he just kept going.
"I just thought maybe there's a side way around or something but instantly he just ... he smoked the train," Cogan said. "He went through the guard rail and just hammered the train and then it was just mayhem."
No serious injuries were reported aboard the train, which originated in Montreal. The train's locomotive and at least one car derailed after hitting the bus.
Via passenger feared train would flip
Train passenger Rob Gencarelli said the train wasn’t traveling too fast when the crash occurred.
“I thought we were going to flip over,” Gencarelli, a university student, told reporters after passengers were removed from the train. “People were just shocked because it happened so suddenly.”
After the crash, train staff alerted passengers that there had been a collision.
Gencarelli said he credits the train’s conductor or conductors for keeping it upright.
“I think you have to give credit to whoever was driving the train,” he said. “It could have flipped.”
Train passengers later boarded buses to continue their journey to Toronto. Via Rail has shut down rail traffic on its Ottawa-Toronto corridor.
Dozens of emergency workers are at the scene as part of a mass casualty response. The City of Ottawa opened its emergency operations centre to handle the crisis, and flags at municipal buildings have been lowered in honour of the victims. Immediately after the crash, witnesses took to Twitter to post photos and share their accounts of what happened.
“Train just derailed pulling into Fallowfield #ottawa #ottnews Nothing tipped as far as we can see,” tweeted @joeboughner.
Moments later, he wrote: “Train was slowing down approaching station, doesn't look like anyone's hurt. It's a few hundred feet from the station.”
A short time later, the severity of the incident became clear.
“Sounds like it was more serious than it looked from here. Thoughts with those on board bus and train,” @joeboughner tweeted.
Within hours of the crash, several politicians and agencies offered their condolences to the victims and their families.
“My heart goes out to all the individuals and families who are affected,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne at a news conference in Toronto.
Wynne thanked first responders, and said the province will assist the City of Ottawa and federal government, if help is required.
Later, MPPs held a moment of silence at Queen's Park.
The City of Toronto is also offering assistance, if needed.
Mayor Rob Ford tweeted: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by the tragic collision in Ottawa. We are ready to provide support as necessary."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was saddened to learn of the crash.
"Deeply saddened to hear about the bus-train collision in Ottawa this morning," Harper tweeted. "Our thoughts & prayers are w/ the families of those involved."

Culled from Toronto Breaking News

No comments: