Numbers rise in Ottawa train crash
Sep 18, 2013 / 8:59 am
At least six people are dead and 30 others injured after a Via Rail train and an Ottawa city bus collided at a level crossing in the city's southwest end Wednesday morning.
Officials in Ottawa said five bus passengers were confirmed dead at the scene and another died in hospital after the train and a double-decker OC Transpo bus collided.
"We had bodies and debris pretty much everywhere at the impact site," Ottawa Fire Service's Marc Messier told CTV's News Channel Wednesday morning.
The crash happened at 8:48 a.m. ET near the intersection of Woodroffe Avenue and Fallowfield Road.
Messier said all the casualties occurred on the bus. There were passengers on the Via train at the time of the crash, he said, but no injuries were reported on the train.
He said the train derailed "approximately 100 to 200 feet down the rail."
"It’s definitely a serious scene," he said. "Our top priority is getting anyone with serious injuries to the hospital and getting them into proper care."
Photos from the scene show the front of the bus completely sheared off.
Rebecca Guilbeault was on the bus with her one-year-old son when the collision occurred.
She said she was texting her friend when other passengers began yelling at the bus driver to stop.
"As I looked up the bus was coming into contact with the gate," she told CTV News.
"I don't know what happened," she continued. "I don't know if the bus driver like blacked out, I don't know what happened but he didn't slow down and it just impacted with the train."
Guilbeault said she immediately ran off the bus with her son.
"I've seen a few people dead, someone ripped in half," Guilbeault said, breaking down in tears.
Ontario's air ambulance service ORNGE dispatched one helicopter from Toronto to the Ottawa crash scene.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has also deployed a team of investigators to the crash site.
The City of Ottawa has set up a reunification centre at the Nepean Sportsplex for families affected by the accident.
Following the crash, 31 victims were transported to Ottawa-area hospitals, 11 of whom suffered critical injuries.
Those with the most serious injuries were rushed to Ottawa Civic Hospital, the regional trauma centre, and Queensway Carleton Hospital.
Dr. Andrew Falconer, Queensway Carleton Hospital Chief of Staff, said most of the crash victims have suffered leg injuries.
"It's definitely one of the worst events we've seen in this city or at this hospital," Falconer told reporters at the scene. "It's overwhelming to imagine the suffering that's going on."
In a tweet, Via Rail confirmed that its Train 51, which runs between Montreal and Toronto, was involved in the crash.
As all Via train service on the Ottawa-Toronto route was cancelled following the collision, a Via Rail billing agent told CTV News that passengers who were aboard the derailed Train 51 will be bussed to Toronto's Union station.
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