Passenger train, bus collide in Canada's capital, six dead

Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:59am EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A passenger train and a double-decker city bus collided on the outskirts of Ottawa on Wednesday, killing six people on the bus and injuring 30 others, emergency officials said.

The front of the red double-decker bus was sheared off and the engine of the VIA Rail train had derailed, but the train cars remained upright with little noticeable damage.

"Paramedics had to declare five persons deceased on scene, nothing could be done. And of the 31 that were transported, we've just been advised that one was deceased in hospital, for a total of six deaths at this point," Anthony DiMonte, chief of Ottawa Paramedic Services, told a news conference.

He said 11 of the people taken to hospital had been in critical condition.

Ambulances and fire trucks swarmed the scene in the rural west end of Canada's capital city as emergency workers helped train passengers disembark past the wreckage of the bus. Five bodies appeared to be wrapped in yellow tarps beside the train track. One had a purse and a backpack next to it.

One passenger on the bus said the driver did not seem to notice the oncoming train or that the track-level signals were flashing. He said some passengers tried to warn the driver before the collision.

"From what I can tell the bus driver did not notice that these train-tracks signal lights were on and the gates were down. People screamed on the bus shortly before the crash because he was not stopping," Gregory Mech, a passenger on the top level of the double-decker bus, told CBC Television.

"I could see that there were bodies on the train tracks. It was horrible. There's just no other way to explain it. Some people were upset and crying."   Continued...

Emergency workers take a person away on a stretcher at the scene of an accident involving a bus and a train in Ottawa September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Wattie