British Columbia

9-year-old girl struck and killed by bus at crosswalk in Abbotsford, B.C.

A 9-year-old girl has died after being struck by a bus at a crosswalk in Abbotsford, B.C., according to police.

'Unfortunately, the victim succumbed to her injuries in hospital shortly after arrival,' say police

A girl has died in hospital after being struck by this transit bus in Abbotsford, B.C., say police. (Shane McKichan)

A 9-year-old girl has died after being struck at a crosswalk by a bus in Abbotsford, B.C., according to police.

The collision happened about 8:22 a.m. PT at South Fraser Way and Hill-Tout Street — about 400 metres from Ten-Broeck Elementary, where the girl went to school.

Abbotsford Police said the girl was walking at a crosswalk when she was hit by a transit bus. The crossing guard that's usually assigned to the intersection was not present at the time of the collision, according to the school district.

The young girl died shortly after being taken to hospital.

Police say they can't comment about how the collision happened yet, but did confirm at the time it was raining heavily and dark.

"This is a horrible situation for our community," said Abbotsford Police Sgt. Judy Bird, adding that the shaken bus driver is co-operating with police as they try to reconstruct the scene to determine causes.

"We are so sorry for the family and friends and everyone who has an association to this young girl."

No crossing guard 'for three weeks'

Parents nearby said they had been concerned for several weeks that there had been no crossing guard stationed at the intersection, and actually raised the issue Thursday with Abbotsford Community Services — the organization that provides the school distrtict with crossing guards.

"We've been missing our crossing guard for three weeks," said Christine Gagnon, whose children also attend the school. "It's just a dangerous intersection and we needed him to be replaced, and they just haven't."

"Now look what's happened — we've lost a beautiful 9-year-old girl."

Rod Santiago, executive director of Abbotsford Community Services, issued a statement saying that his thoughts were with those affected by the girl's death.

"For us, today's tragedy strikes deep for our staff. We are truly heartbroken," Santiago said.

"We have already begun looking into today's tragedy and will provide whatever assistance we can to the Abbotsford Police Department as they conduct an official investigation." 

Christine Gagnon, near tears, says she had raised concerns that there was no crossing guard at the intersection with Abbotsford Community Services on Thursday. (Susana da Silva/CBC)

Transit offers condolences

B.C. Transit has also expressed its condolences via social media.

"B.C.Transit is extremely saddened to hear of the passing of 9-year-old girl involved in an incident with the B.C. Transit bus in Abbotsford. Our hearts and thoughts are with her and her family and her friends, and with the driver and the other witnesses of the event," Jonathan Dyck, communications manager for B.C. Transit told CBC on Friday.

A memorial has started to form just metres away from where the nine-year-old girl was struck. (Susana da Silva/CBC)

School district lends support

A spokesperson from the Abbotsford School District told CBC News the district is trying to figure out why there was no crossing guard present at the time of the collision.

The district has also sent a response team to Ten-Broeck Elementary.

"Our district's critical incident response team has been deployed for both students and staff to ensure that our school community has the appropriate supports in place, not only for today, but also for the days ahead," Kayla Stuckart, the district's communications manager, told CBC on Friday.

With files from Susana da Silva