Friday, April 19, 2019

Double-decker bus crashes in Ottawa Station, killing 3 and injuring 25

  • >> Ian Austen, The New York Times
    Published: 2019-01-12 12:45:19 BdST

The crash on Friday was the second deadly accident involving a double-decker city bus in Ottawa in six years. The New York Times

An afternoon commute in Canada’s capital turned to horror after a double-decker city bus became impaled on a passenger shelter, leaving three people dead and 25 injured, officials said.

Jim Watson, the mayor of Ottawa, said one of the people killed was standing on the platform at the time of the crash, and the other two were aboard the bus.

“Our hearts and condolences go out to all those who were injured,” Watson said at a news conference. “Our focus now must be to provide care and sympathy for those affected by the accident.”

Of the injured, 14 arrived at hospitals in critical condition.

It was the second deadly accident involving a double-decker bus in the city in less than six years.

The bus, operated by the city’s transit system, OC Transpo, was traveling along a below-grade road reserved for buses when it went out of control entering a station west of the city’s downtown at about 3:50 pm, said Chief Charles Bordeleau of the Ottawa Police Service.

It then mounted a passenger platform and crashed into a shelter. The steel and glass of the shelter’s overhang tore off the front of the bus and sliced through a large section of its upper deck.

Bordeleau said most of the injured people were in that part of the bus and that several people on the platform also required treatment.

Why the accident occurred was not clear. It was a bitterly cold afternoon: Officials had delivered a frostbite warning, and black ice had developed on several roads throughout the city.

“There’s no question that the weather adds to the complexity of the scene,” Bordeleau said, although he declined to answer questions about the possible causes or the condition of the transit road’s service.

He said “something led us to having arrested” the bus driver, but he declined to offer any details. She was being questioned Friday night.

The bus, whose route was to take it from downtown to the suburbs, was not scheduled to stop at the station where the accident occurred.

Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario, wrote on Twitter that he was “devastated to hear about those who lost their lives and were injured following the horrific bus collision.”

In 2013, an OC Transpo double-decker bus collided with an intercity passenger train, leaving six dead and 35 people injured.

An investigation by federal authorities found that the driver might have been distracted by a video screen that allowed him to monitor passengers on the upper level of the bus. It also called for the addition of bumpers to the buses, which are made in Britain.

John Manconi, the general manager of OC Transpo, said buses built since that report have included bumpers, but he did know whether the bus in Friday’s collision was among them.

© 2019 New York Times News Service