Six fatalities have been reported after a passenger train collided with a double decker bus at a crossing in Canada's capital, Ottawa, at the peak of morning rush hour, police said Wednesday.
The crash occurred at approximately 8:48 (12:48 GMT). The driver is believed to be one of those reported dead.
30 passengers from the bus have been hospitalised, 11 of which are believed to have sustained serious injuries.
Photos show the front end of the double-decker bus after being ripped off by the impact with the Via Rail train.
Witnesses said the bus went through a closed crossing barrier. One witness, Gregory Mach, who was on the bus, said that people on board were screaming for the bus to stop as it approached the safety barrier.
"There were bodies on the train tracks," he told CBS News in the aftermath of the crash. "It was horrible. There's just no other way to explain it."
Via Rail posted a message on Twitter saying there were no reports of major injuries to passengers or crew on the train.
The rail company canceled trains on its Ottawa-Toronto route following the accident, which occurred just outside a suburban train station in the city's west end. The station has since been identified by Via Rail as Fallowfield.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper posted a message on Twitter to say he was deeply saddened by the accident. "Our thoughts and prayers are (with) the families of those involved," he wrote.
It is believed to be Canada's worst train accident since an oil train derailed and exploded in a Quebec town in July, that killed 50.
Pascal Lolgis, who witnessed the crash, said the bus appeared to drive through a lowered crossing barrier.
“Boom! It went into the train like that,” Lolgis said.
"He just didn't stop.“
Another witness, Mark Cogan, told the Associated Press the rail barrier was down.
“The train is going through,” Cogan said. “And I was just looking around, just watching things happen. And noticed that in the bus lane, the double-decker bus ... I saw him, and he just kept going.
“I just thought maybe there's a side way around or something, but instantly, he just ... he smoked the train. He went through the guard rail and just hammered the train, and then it was just mayhem.”
The train tracks in the area cross a major city street and a transit line reserved for buses only.
Rescue crews continued to work through the wreckage to free passengers trapped. The injured from the bus who could walk were taken to a second bus nearby to be treated by paramedics.
Investigators from the country's Transportation and Safety Board (TSB) are leading the investigation into the crash. The TSB's chief operating officer Jean Laporte has said that the investigation could take several months but added that the TSB would release information sooner if it could improve safety, the Candian Broadcasting Corporation reports.Reuse content