Ottawans still recovering one week after fatal bus crash

A week ago Wednesday, six people were killed and more than 30 others were injured when OC Transpo bus No. 76 crashed into the side of a Via Rail passenger train.

2nd of 6 funerals to take place this morning for bus passenger Michael Bleakney, 57

A week ago, six people were killed and more than 30 others were injured when OC Transpo bus No. 76 crashed into the side of a Via Rail passenger train.

Investigators are still trying to determine exactly what happened, a process that could take months. In the interim, Ottawans personally touched by the crash are still trying to process their grief and shock.

The funeral for one of the victims, 57-year-old Michael Bleakney, took place Wednesday morning at the Barrhaven United Church.

A memorial service for 21-year-old Connor Boyd happened Monday, and services for three other victims — Karen Krzyzewski, Rob More and Kyle Nash — are set for Thursday.

The bus driver, Dave Woodard, will be remembered at a public memorial service on Wednesday next week, exactly two weeks after the crash.

Moment of silence at council meeting

At City Hall Wednesday, councillors observed a moment of silence for the six victims during a city council meeting, immediately following a speech by Mayor Jim Watson.

Watson acknowledged the outpouring of support and compassion in the aftermath of the crash and said although the city is shaken, "we will move forward."

The city "can and will learn from this terrible tragedy," he said, to prevent anything like it from happening again.

Last night, Ottawans affected by the tragic accident gathered to discuss emotional trauma at a special mental health seminar organized by the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

'Memories came flooding back,' bus passenger says

Shamsia Quraishi, who was riding OC Transpo bus No. 76 when it crashed into a Via Rail train, says she's still trying to cope with what she witnessed. (CBC)

A still bruised Shamsia Quraishi, who was on bus No. 76 when it crashed into the train, attended. She said she's still feeling the emotional effects of what she witnessed, but that she's also getting a lot of help.

"Today [Tuesday] I saw a double-decker bus," she told CBC News, "and as soon as I saw that bus I just stood there and I couldn't move. Memories came flooding back. And to just make it worse, the bus in front moved and it turned out to be bus number 76."

One day, she hopes to be able to take the bus again.

"I do believe that Ottawa is one of the safest cities, and I hope to take that bus again and get back into that routine one day. Maybe next week, maybe the week after, but I'll do that eventually," she said.

"Strangers have come up to hug me. It has just reinforced my faith in Ottawa. ... I feel fortunate to be in Ottawa. I still believe in this system, in this city, and I love the people here."

Her husband, Ashraf Hussein, rushed to the scene of the crash just minutes after it happened, and he said he's still processing what he saw.

The couple went back to work on Monday, and said they're taking their recovery one day at a time.


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