A passenger who stayed behind to help a woman seriously injured in last week’s Ottawa bus crash says she’d like to meet the woman she rescued to give her a hug.
Karin Hohban was sitting on the upper floor of the double-decker bus Friday when it suddenly slammed into a transit shelter. The force of the collision killed three passengers and trapped Hohban beneath the crushed seats. She lost more than two litres of blood due to a major leg injury.
Moments after the crash, a stranger rushed to Hohban’s aid and used a scarf to stop her leg from bleeding, according to her husband, who credited the stranger with saving her life.
“She was literally bleeding to death,” AJ Yantha told CTV Ottawa on Thursday, hoping to find the rescuer. "We have to find her … she's one of the heroes.”
That rescuer was Jessica Service, a civil servant with Public Safety Canada who reached out to CTV News after recognizing the story.
Service said she and another passenger saw the trapped woman and worked together to pull her to safety. Service’s husband had taken a First Aid class a few months earlier, and, thanks to their conversations, she knew that it was important to stop the flow of blood.
“I kept holding her hand and trying to keep her warm and telling her that she was a priority,” Service told CTVNews.ca on Thursday night.
Hohban is still in hospital in serious but stable condition. Service said she spent the last few days worrying and was relieved to learn that the woman she helped was OK.
“I would love to meet Karin,” Service told CTVNews.ca in an interview Thursday evening. “I was really hopeful that she was going to be okay. I didn’t know until the story broke.”
Service admitted that it’s been an emotional week, but that she plans to reach out to Hohban and her husband.
“I would love to give them a hug and just take one of those big deep breaths with them, because I can’t actually imagine what they’re going through right now.”
Three passengers died in Friday’s crash. Twenty-three others were injured, including two who were ejected from the bus.
Service was sitting near the stairs and suffered a minor concussion. She said she feels lucky to have been able to walk away from the crash.
“I picked a good seat that day,” she said.
As for being credited with saving someone’s life, Service said she and the fellow passenger simply followed “a very normal instinct.”
“Anything that was wrong with me could wait,” she said. “She was in trouble.”
The three victims have been identified as Bruce Thomlinson, Judy Booth and Anja Van Beek, all civil servants working for the federal government.
Many of the injured passengers suffered major injuries to their lower limbs, and some needed to undergo amputations, officials said.
Online fundraisers have been launched to help survivors. More than $40,000 has been raised to help Julie Davis, a woman from Kanata who lost her right leg. Davis remains in hospital.
Thousands of dollars have also been raised for Chester Wilson, who lost his right leg and may lose his left leg. So far, a crowdfunding campaign for Wilson has raised $44,000.