Seniors injured in bus crash in Denbigh, Ont.
26 people were transported to hospital following a bus crash south-west of Renfrew Friday morning, according to Lennox & Addington Paramedics.
The collision occurred on Highway 28 between Highway 41 and Bridge Street in Denbigh, Ont. just before 10 a.m. Friday, October 14th, 2016.
The remote location of where the crash happened was challenging for emergency crews. Nearly a dozen ambulances were called to the scene from three different counties, as were more than a dozen firefighters from various jurisdictions. Ornge air ambulance was also called but it was cancelled.
"A lot of bumps and bruises, a couple more significant injuries with fractures and things," said Brian Leahey, the Deputy Fire Chief with the Renfrew County Paramedics.
The group of 47 seniors, and one driver, was travelling from Bancroft to Montreal to deliver gifts and a cheque to a Montreal Children's Hospital on behalf of the Algonquin Shrine Club.
Wayne Wiggins helped organize the trip.
"There was a bit of panic of course, but better heads prevailed and people did move out on their own. It was a little scary," Wiggins said.
When the bus tipped, passengers said they were flung to the far side of the bus like rag dolls. Hald Robinson was at the high end of the charter sitting next to his wife when it came around the curve and tipped.
"We hit the speed sign and I knew that once we hit the shoulder there was no bringing her back," Robinson said. "Everybody just flew. Once it tipped over, there was nothing to hang onto."
Emergency responders said the passengers were able to exit the bus on their own before fire officials arrived on scene.
However, bystanders who reached out to CTV Ottawa said a group of four people were essential in the evacuation efforts. A truck driver, and three others removed the glass windshield from the front of the bus and helped the seniors out before rushing to a nearby home to call 911.
The bystanders said they left the scene before emergency responders arrived, leaving behind their blankets, sleeping bags and other items used to keep the injured warm.
"It took significant time to get the people out, and a long time before even the first ambulance arrived," said Lisa Hern, one of the bystanders who jumped in to help. "In fact, my husband was still in the bus getting the last of the people out while the first ambulance was there triaging. I had the severely injured person on the ground and covered with my sleeping bag."
Ontario Provincial Police are investigating.