A 49-year-old man has died after a charter bus jumped the curb and struck several pedestrians in downtown Vancouver on Sunday.

The crash happened at the foot of Burrard Street near the waterfront, just outside Canada Place, around 10:30 a.m. PT. 

According to Vancouver police Sgt. Jason Robillard, the bus was moving slowly when it collided with an SUV parked at the curbside and struck the pedestrians who were standing nearby.

An elderly man who was taken to hospital after the crash is still in serious condition, and a 15-year-old girl suffered minor injuries, Robillard said. All three victims were tourists visiting the city, but investigators aren't releasing their nationalities.

The bus driver could face charges, Robillard said, pending the results of the police investigation.

Bus crash

A fire truck pulls away from the scene after a tour bus hit several pedestrians near Vancouver's waterfront. (CBC News)

'Screaming for his life'

Arsene Dinzeu was working across the street at Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar when a co-worker heard the crash, saw what had happened and asked him to call 911.

"She just jumped into action. She didn't think of anything but trying to help the people in trouble there," Dinzeu told CBC News.

Dinzeu followed her to the scene after calling for help, and saw two men near the front of the bus. One was sitting down, but he appeared to be unconscious and was blue in the face, he said.

The other man was pinned under the bus.

"[He] was screaming for his life, just yelling and obviously in some severe pain," Dinzeu said.

Although he didn't witness the crash, Dinzeu said it appeared they were unloading luggage from the parked SUV at the time of the incident.

vancouver charter crash canada place

The bus crashed outside Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, a popular tourist destination during the summer. Paul Stasiewich, visiting from Toronto, could see it from his hotel room. (Paul Stasiewich)

Another witness, Paul Stasiewich, was staying on the 10th floor of the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel and could see the crash from his window.

"We were just getting ready in the morning and heard a bunch of sirens that seemed really close, so we went and looked out the window and a big bus had jumped the curb and was wedged up against pillars on the sidewalk," Stasiewich said.

"It was only about three or four feet up off the road."

Paramedics and fire rescue crews propped the Vancouver Trolley Company (VTC) bus up with wooden blocks while they pulled the pedestrians from underneath. Bus passengers and the driver were still on the bus at the time.

Stasiewich said he saw fire rescue crews pull three people from under the bus.

The bus passengers were taken to the Vancouver Convention Centre and could be witnesses, police said.

VTC general manager, Stuart Coventry, issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying that it was too soon to speculate on what happened.

"We are shocked and saddened and our focus right now is on the people who were injured and the families of those injured and deceased," Coventry said.