A coroner's inquest is underway into Canada's worst bus crash. Forty-four people died in the crash last fall. near Les Eboulements, Quebec. The bus passengers were seniors on a Thanksgiving outing.

One motorist told the inquiry how he smelt the the stench of burning brakes shortly before the bus crashed.

"We could smell a strong smell of overheated brakes even though our car windows were closed," said Marc-Andre Berube, who was sightseeing in the region with his girlfriend at the time.

Berube said they saw the bus about half an hour before the fatal crash.

Seven different parties, including the victims' families and the maker of the bus, have asked permission to cross examine witnesses.

When the inquest first met in December, the coroner asked to see recommendations drawn from another inquest into a 1974 earlier crash at the same spot.

The coroner has said it's not his job to lay blame for this latest accident, but he wants to find out what caused it and how future tragedies can be prevented.