'Bodies just flying through the windshield': Witnesses describe Ottawa bus crash
Published Friday, January 11, 2019 10:29PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 12, 2019 5:55PM EST
WARNING: This story contains graphic content that may be disturbing to some readers
Three people were killed and 23 others injured on Friday when a double-decker Ottawa transit bus crashed into a shelter at the city’s Westboro station.
These witnesses saw the crash and its immediate aftermath:
‘BLOOD POOLING UNDERNEATH THE SEATS’
Mike Sharp was onboard the bus at the time of the accident.
“Where I was, there was blood pooling underneath the seats just in front of me,” he told CTV Ottawa, describing the immediate aftermath of the crash.“People’s bodies were being pushed up and compressed in the seats.”
Sitting near the back, Sharp quickly found himself trapped in the totalled vehicle.
“Seats (were) sort of piling up in front of me and heading towards me and very quickly (I) realized there was really nowhere for me to go,” he recalled. “The bus was full -- it was full of people… There was nowhere to even escape where I was.”
He was lucky to walk away unharmed.
‘BODIES JUST FLYING THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD’
Andrew Borle was waiting for a bus on the other side of Westboro Station when the crash took place.
“I heard a bump and I saw the bus crashing into Westboro Station,” the local student told CTV Ottawa, still visibly shaken from what he had seen. “It was pretty intense at the time. People were screaming… I saw like two or three bodies just flying through the windshield of the bus.”
One of those people, Borle said, appeared to be a uniformed member of the Canadian military. The bus, he added, “was just ripped open.”
“It seemed like a full bus, a pretty crowded bus,” Borle said. “Definitely people were hurt.”
‘FIREFIGHTERS WERE WORKING TO CUT AWAY THE WINDOWS’
Gabriel Rivett-Carnac, who lives across the street from the station, witnessed the immediate aftermath of the crash.
“I heard an unusual number of sirens and so I came out,” Rivett-Carnac told CTV News Channel. “The front of the bus was essentially cut off and or demolished and firefighters were working to cut away the windows of the top floor of the bus.”
Rivett-Carnac said that the first responders seemed “cool, calm and collected” as they worked “quite systematically to gain access to the passengers on the top (of) the bus.”
The crash, Rivett-Carnac added, hit particularly close to home.
“I got off a double-decker bus probably about an hour before this at the Westboro Station,” he said. “It’s fairly unsettling that it could have been my bus. And my partner uses that bus line to get downtown every day and today she didn’t go to work. So it’s not a comfortable feeling. “
‘PEOPLE WERE REALLY, SERIOUSLY HURT’
Laura McCauley also witnessed the immediate aftermath of the bus crash.
“I saw ladders against it and I saw people getting pulled out the top and I wasn’t sure what happened,” she told CTV News Channel. “And as I got a better look, I saw how damaged the front of the bus was and it came obviously clearly right after that people were really, seriously hurt.”
McCauley described the scene as “all very much confusion.”
“I think a lot of people were in shock,” she added.
At the scene, McCauley also spoke with a woman who had been waiting for the bus when it barrelled towards the shelter. That woman is lucky to be alive.
“She thought it looked like it hit a patch of ice and swerved,” McCauley said. “And as she saw that, she turned and ran.”
With files from CTV Ottawa and CTV News Channel