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Ottawa Bus Crash Kills 6 as Driver Slams Into Moving Passenger Train

Image: Ottawa Bus Crash Kills 6 as Driver Slams Into Moving Passenger Train

Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 02:24 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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An Ottawa crash involving a bus and a train Wednesday killed six people and critically injured 11 more when the double-decker bus went through a closed rail crossing and slammed into a passenger train during peak morning traffic.

Witnesses told the Associated Press that the bus blew through a lowered crossing barrier and into the side of the passing, four-car train. Via Rail said there were no reports of major injuries to train passengers or crew and the remainder of Wednesday's Ottawa-Toronto route trains were being canceled.

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"From what I can tell the bus driver did not notice that these train track's signal lights were on and the gates were down," Passenger Greg Mech, who was riding on the second level of the double-decker bus, told CBC News. "People screamed on the bus shortly before the crash because he was not stopping."

The Globe and Mail wrote that the train ripped through the upper deck of the bus on the driver’s side, throwing passengers out of the vehicle, according to witnesses. Ajoy Bista said he was sitt‎ing on the top left, just behind those who were killed.

"There were people yelling 'stop, stop!' but it was already too late," Bista told the Globe and Mail. "I sit in the front normally because you get a good view. Today, I don’t know what saved me, I just didn’t sit there. There is no way I would have survived."

Roughly 30 people were taken to the hospital. Ottawa mayor Jim Watson told CBC News that the crash the worst in the city's history.

Transport Canada officials and Transportation Safety Board investigators continued their investigations Wednesday afternoon, reported CBC News. Officials said it was too early to determine the speed of the train or if the bus driver tried to brake.

"On behalf of everyone at Via Rail, we extend our thoughts and prayers to all those affected by today’s tragic event," the railway's president and CEO Marc Lalibert√© said in a news release from Via Rail. "We are deeply saddened by this collision and we express our sincere appreciation for the dedication and work of first responders on the scene."

The accident marked the second major rail accident in Canada this year. In July, 47 people were killed when an oil train derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

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Related stories:

Tour Bus Crash: Rollover in Southern California Injures 52 Riders

Cincinnati Bus Crash Investigated; 35 Injured in Corn Field

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