Police say seven children and one adult were taken to hospital after the school bus they were riding was rear-ended by a tanker truck in a community northwest of Toronto.
Investigators say a tanker-truck struck the rear of the 20-passenger school bus, carrying nine children — ranging in age from five to 10 years old — last Thursday morning in Halton Hills, Ont.
Police say two of the children were taken to McMaster’s Children’s Hospital in Hamilton with non-life threatening injuries, while five other children and the driver were taken to hospital in nearby Milton, Ont., with minor injuries.
The 58-year-old truck driver — from Orangeville, Ont. — was not injured and police say the tanker, which was loaded with diesel fuel, was not compromised in the collision.
Photographs from the scene showed the back of the school bus partially caved in and damage to the front end of the tanker truck.
As of Thursday evening, police said no charges had been laid.
Sgt. Ryan Snow of the Halton Regional Police’s traffic services unit said the collision came as a shock to those involved and the witnesses who have been interviewed so far.
“Any time that you witness any sort of collision, for sure people are going to be shaken up by what they’ve seen, not just the people who are on board the bus,” he said at a news conference.
Injuries included a broken ankle and a concussion, he said.
Halton Region School Board spokeswoman Marnie Denton said only one of those children is currently being treated for injuries. The other four and the bus driver are currently there for observation, she said.
Denton said the students were en route to Pineview Public School and Stewarttown Public School at the time of the crash.
She said staff and students at the two schools near Georgetown, Ont. are “concerned” for those who were injured. The parents of the affected children were notified of the situation and were either on the scene of the accident or en route to the appropriate hospitals, she said.
Denton did not have any information on the gender or identity of the bus driver.
Snow said the driver of the tanker truck is co-operating with police.
“(He’s) obviously been shaken up,” he said. “It’s not something most of us can attest to being involved in on a daily basis is a collision such as this, and obviously a school bus I think heightens that, however he appears to be fine,” he said.
The area where the collision occurred was closed for approximately 5 1/2 hours in both directions while an accident reconstruction team investigated.
-by Michelle McQuigge in Toronto (The Canadian Press)