Witnesses recount horror of bus crash scene

Screaming, blood and rescue by ladder: Passengers and witnesses describe the scene of Friday's deadly bus crash in Ottawa.

Packed OC Transpo double-decker slams into transit station shelter, killing 3

Police and first responders assist a man at the scene of a double-decker collision at Ottawa's Westboro station on Jan. 11, 2019. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Screaming, blood and rescue by ladder: Passengers and witnesses describe the scene of Friday's deadly bus crash in Ottawa.

Three people were killed and nearly two dozen injured when an OC Transpo bus slammed into a bus shelter at Westboro station at the start of Friday afternoon rush hour.

Bilal Gill was at the back of the Route 269 bus when the collision occurred.

"The bus started swerving, I guess it hit the curb or hit something. It started swerving, the driver couldn't get control back and it just hit the Westboro shelter," he said in an interview with CBC.

Witness recounts moment following bus crash

4 years ago
Duration 0:57
Bilal Gill was at the back of the OC Transpo bus when it crashed into the shelter at Westboro station at the start of afternoon rush hour on Jan. 11, 2019.

"A lot of people started screaming, people at the front who got pinned under their seats," he said.

He said first responders broke windows and entered the upper deck with ladders to rescue trapped passengers. 

"There was definitely people pinned and there was a bit of blood on the floor," he said. "There were people who were being carried out on stretchers."

Half the bus 'missing'

Monica Lung was a passenger on another bus that came up upon the scene just after the collision.

"There was just debris all over the ground and the front of the bus. Half of it just looked like it was missing," she said. 

Witnessing the aftermath left her shaken.

"I normally carpool. I occasionally take the bus. I haven't taken it in a while, to be honest." 

Firefighters work to remove passengers from the bus following a devastating crash at Westboro Station on Friday. (Patrick Carriere/ Twitter )


Ryan Baldasso, 34, travels along that bus route every day from Kanata to downtown. Like Lung, his bus passed by moments after the crash.

"It was pretty gut-wrenching to see. It's horrible. You never want to see anything like that. Everyone just wants to get home safe to their families and never think about stuff like this happening. It's horrible to witness something like that."

A woman is seen speaking on a cellphone as she leans out of the gaping hole at the front of OC Transpo bus No. 8155 moments after it slammed into a transit shelter at Westboro station. (@SaveOurSenators/Twitter)