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7 children taken to hospital after school bus, truck collide in Ontario

A mother of two young children describes what she saw after pulling her kids back from boarding a bus moments before it was rear-ended by a tanker truck, sending seven other elementary school students to hospital.

2 children in hospital with serious injuries after school bus rear-ended by tanker truck

Tracy Cole told CBC News that she pulled her two children back from the school bus moments before it was rear-ended by a tanker truck Thursday morning. 0:39

A woman who pulled her two young children back from boarding a school bus moments before it was rear-ended this morning by a tanker truck in Halton Region in southern Ontario says she saw one of the students "fly from the back seat" of the bus.

Tracy Cole was shaken as she told CBC News about what she saw Thursday morning, after the collision injured seven students.

"The bus just stopped, my kids were getting on, the truck started honking its horn and ... bang," Cole said.

Seven children were taken to hospital when a school bus was-rear ended by a tanker truck in Halton Region this morning. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

"I saw the kid fly from the back seat. He just flew. I wanted the kids off that bus to make sure they're OK."

The collision happened just after 8 a.m. ET just east of Milton, Ont., about 50 kilometres west of Toronto. 

Police say the bus was rear-ended as it stopped on Steeles Avenue at Sixth Line, a rural road north of Highway 401. 

"A school bus made a quick stop, the tanker could not stop and plowed into the back of the school bus," said Halton Regional Police Insp. John van der Lelie.

The bus had its overhead flashing lights activated and its stop arm extended, a Halton police news release said later Thursday. The bus was about to pick up two students at the time of the collision, the release went on. 

"The driver of the tanker sounded his air horn alerting the pedestrians of the impending collision. The two students were pulled to safety by their mother when it was clear the truck was not going to stop."

The truck was carrying home-heating fuel. The bus was carrying nine children who ranged in age from five to 10 years old, police said.

The tanker truck collided with the school bus on Steeles Avenue at Sixth Line in Halton. The driver was taken to hospital. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Two of the seven children taken to hospital had injuries described by paramedics as "serious but non-life threatening," and were brought to McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton. The remaining five children and the bus driver were treated in hospital in Milton for "minor to moderate" injuries.

Police later said one of the children taken to McMaster suffered a concussion, while the other had an ankle injury. 

The 58-year-old driver of the tanker truck, a resident of Orangeville, was not injured.

'They're a little shaken up'

In the moments after the crash, many parents and some neighbours arrived on the scene to comfort children. Some were visibly upset, including Cole's children Kaitlyn and Edward.

"They're a little shaken up, a little scared," she said. "They're worried about their friends." 

In a statement to CBC News, the Halton District School Board said parents of the students on the bus were notified of the collision immediately. The board also said students and their parents were reunited at local hospitals.

The bus was en route to Pineview Public School and Stewarttown Middle School at the time of the crash. 

Photos from the scene show damage to the back of the bus and to the front bumper of the tanker truck.

Paramedics treated some of the children at the scene before they were sent to hospital. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Police said it's too early to say if charges will be laid.

Drivers faced delays in the area as Steeles Avenue was closed for more than five hours in both directions while a collision reconstruction unit investigated the crash.

Police have asked anyone who may have witnessed the collision to come forward.

With files from CBC's Tony Smyth