Passengers in the June 23 bus-truck collision near Lancaster in eastern Ontario have described the scene as “horrific.” The double-decker bus was carrying 45 passengers on a scheduled run from Montreal to Toronto, with a stop in Kingston, Ontario, at the time it collided with a tractor-trailer.
Four people suffered serious injuries. Three were taken by ambulance to nearby hospitals and one was airlfited to Ottawa Hospital. Nineteen were treated for minor injuries. There have been no fatalities reported so far, and the airlifted passenger is described as being in serious condition but expected to recover.
The uninjured passengers described a sensation like a blown tire before windows broke, then passengers being thrown from their seats and a metal piece from the truck lodged in front of the bus. People, including the driver, were pinned in the front of the bus, screaming. Some passengers escaped by the middle doors, while other panicked passengers in the crash jumped out the broken windows. The jaws of life had to be used to extract the driver and one other passenger. Several of the passengers said it was “terrifying” and called the scene “total panic and chaos.”
Passenger Katalia Percivao said she tried to help others, but soon got frightened by the sight of blood.
“I was trying to help people, but then I just see blood running everywhere so I got scared and I jumped through the window,” she said.
Officials for the bus company, Megabus, said they are investigating the incident, including the passengers in the crash.
“Safety is our No. 1 priority and Megabus is fully co-operating with the authorities with their investigation into the incident,” said director Sean Hughes.
A spokesman from the trucking company said the bus hit the truck from behind. The bus moved alongside the right of the truck, taking off the passenger side mirror before coming to rest. It did not flip over, but did heavily lean on nearby trees. Highway 401 was closed between county roads 2 and 27 for approximately two hours. The exact cause of the crash remains unknown.
This isn’t the first bus collision on Highway 401. On December 28 of last year, a car struck a light pole after losing control in snowy conditions. The chain reaction caused by this eventually led to a bus flipping over on its side. It’s also not the first Megabus crash by far. The crash in Indianapolis was blamed on faulty windshield wipers, and the passengers in the crash sued. In all, there are sixteen Megabus accidents reported over the last two years.
[Image via Wikipedia by Adam E. Moreira.]