UPDATE, 4:40pm: Multiple media reports have identified the bus driver as 10-year OC Transpo veteran Dave Woodard, although officials declined to give his name at this afternoon’s press conference. The reports also say the driver was one of those killed.
Scrutiny is turning toward the at-grade intersection where the accident took place. According to the CBC, the Canadian Transportation Safety Board has been concerned about such crossings:
Glen Pilon, the lead investigator for the TSB, said the agency has warned in the past about the danger of passenger trains at level crossings like the one where Wednesday’s crash occurred.
“This type of investigation is going to get a priority from the Transportation Safety Board. It is something we have been watching,” he said.
“Specifically crossings involving Via trains at crossings in the [Quebec City-Windsor] corridor is a watch-list concern of ours.”
UPDATE, 11:30am: Hospital officials say in a press conference right now that 31 people were transferred to area hospitals; 11 are in critical condition. They say five people died at the scene; one more died while being transferred to the hospital.
City officials say investigators from the Canadian Transportation Safety Board are in the scene.
Officials are not yet giving information about the bus driver’s condition and history with OC Transpo. The Ottawa Citizen is reporting police say the bus driver was killed.
First responders are on the scene of a crash between a train and a double decker bus in Canada’s capital. Police in Ottawa say multiple people were killed and many more injured. The news is still developing – updates are frequent on the CBC’s website and at the Globe and Mail.
The crash occured shortly before 9am this morning, at the peak of Ottawa’s rush hour. One of Canada’s national rail system trains was on its way to Toronto when it slammed into a OC Transpo city bus heading into Ottawa. The crash occurred at a street level crossing near the Via Rail Fallowfield Station as the train was pulling into the station for a stop.
Via Rail reported through twitter that no one was seriously injured on the train, but it seems bus passengers weren’t so lucky. The whole front of the bus was crushed.
It’s still unclear exactly what happened. Witnesses tell the Globe and Mail that the bus appeared to ignore railroad warning signals and barriers. But the paper is also reporting that people saw the train go off its tracks:
Witnesses said the train derailed as it was pulling into the station around 8:50 a.m.
People who talked to passengers on the bus said they were yelling at the driver to stop, tweeted Amy Bougher, a local resident who had just dropped her husband at the station.
“Saw the train jump the tracks, saw it moving toward it and my only thought was what if it keeps moving to the station,” Ms. Boughner tweeted.
“Train hit the bus, inertia brought it closer to the station where the engine jumped the tracks.”
Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted that it is “a horrible accident” and praised police and fire crews that arrived on the scene.
We’ll update this story at the top of this post as news develops.