Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Six dead as bus hits VIA Rail Canada train

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A double-decker OC Transpo bus struck a VIA Rail Canada passenger train at a fully protected grade crossing with functioning gates, lights, and bells in Ottawa, Wednesday morning, Sept. 18, 2013, killing six people, city and Ontario provincial authorities said. At least 30 other people were injured, with several in critical condition.

The bus driver was killed; all the remaining fatalities and injuries occurred among bus passengers. 

The incident occurred at 8:48 a.m. Eastern time, during the latter portion of the city's morning rush hour, with the VIA train subsequently derailing "approximately 100 to 200 feet" from the impact site, Ottawa Fire Service spokesman Marc Messie told Canadian media. The front of the bus was sheared off.

OttawaBusTrainCrash1809eSeveral passengers on the bus said in various news reports that the bus driver did not seem to notice the train, or appear to notice that the grade-crossing signals were flashing and the crossing gates were in place. They said the VIA train was moving through the crossing and the bus essentially rammed into it. Others on the bus reportedly tried to warn the driver of the situation.

On its website, VIA Rail Canada announced that "all trains between Toronto and Ottawa in both directions will be replaced by bus service for the remainder of the day," also noting, "Normal service will be provided between Montreal and Ottawa."