At Least 5 Dead – More Expected
UPDATE #1 – Videos added. Scroll down.
UPDATE #2 – Casualty figures updated.
UPDATE #3 – Additional details, photos added.
UPDATE #4 – Early dispatch and situation report audio added.
COMMUTERS IN SOUTH OTTAWA, ONTARIO, were caught in a horrifying collision this morning (Wednesday) when their double-decker bus drove through a lowered crossing gate at a railroad crossing and collided with a VIA Rail passenger train.
Pedwell / Canadian Press
The crash happened just before 9 am. So far the Ottawa Fire Department has confirmed five fatalities, all of which are still on the bus except any that might have been in the front where the driver's seat was located. The first 7-10 feet of the bus has been shorn off by the wreck.
The paramedic units have been triaging and transporting dozens of victims but it is too early to learn how many have been transported or the severity of the injuries.
All news services are reporting that the bus drove through the lowered guard despite the passengers screaming to the driver that a train was approaching.
The bus struck the 3rd or 4th railcar leading to the train's derailment as well. Photos from the scene show definite damage on the side of the locomotive indicating a head-to-head collision.
The train was slowing down to stop at a nearby station and subsequently nobody on the train was reported to be injured in early reports.
The Ottawa Sun is running a dynamic blog report HERE that you can click on and read the constantly-updating story line.
UPDATE #1 – 11:20 am Eastern:
The Ottawa Citizen has more details and an early video HERE.
The bus driver is one of the fatalities. The four others were all bus passengers.
UPDATE #2 – 12:15 pm Eastern:
At 11 am a City Hall update confirmed 6 people have died, 5 at the scene, 1 in the hospital. 31 people were transported to hospitals, 11 in critical condition.
UPDATE #3 – 1:45 pm Eastern:
The Wall Street Journal is reporting:
Authorities said a total of 31 injured people were transported to area hospitals, including the 11 they described as critically injured. They said five people died at the scene and one person died in hospital.
Pauline Tam, a spokeswoman with the Ottawa Hospital, said that at least three people in critical condition had been transported to her hospital's facilities. Calline Au, a spokeswoman at the Queensway Carleton Hospital, said her hospital had admitted another four patients, two of which required surgery for their injuries.
CTV News in an update is reporting:
Passengers who were aboard the OC Transpo bus were reported to have been screaming at the driver to "stop" as the vehicle drove through a marked barrier at a level crossing in the city’s southwest end.
"All of a sudden I heard a scream and I looked up," bus passenger Rebecca Guilbeault told CTV News in an interview at the site of the crash. "(People) were shouting 'stop, stop' and then as I looked up, the bus was coming into contact with the gate."
She said the front of the bus "impacted at once" and the passengers "flew" forward.
According to Dr. Andrew Falconer, the Queensway Carleton Hospital Chief of Staff, some of the injured from the crash suffered painful leg fractures. "They are really painful. This was a very traumatizing experience for them so there’s a lot of emotional upsets which is completely understandable," Dr. Falconer told CTV News Channel on Wednesday.
CTV News has more photo galleries, updates and videos HERE.
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An early video report from CTV via CNN:
CTV has just posted another video update:
Update #4 – 5:30 pm:
The Ottawa emergency services dispatch has released an edited tape of the initial dispatch and the first-arriving units' situation reports. Click on the Play button to listen.
"Upgrade this to a mass casualty… I have about six code blacks and at least three, or four, code fours, on the ground."
Hat tip: Mark D.
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