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2 children killed, 6 injured after Quebec daycare bus crash


Authorities say two children were killed and six others injured when a city bus crashed into a daycare center near Montreal on Wednesday morning.

A bus driver has been arrested and may face charges of murder and reckless driving after authorities in Laval, Quebec said he drove the bus into the daycare center in the Sainte-Rose neighborhood at around 8:30 a.m.

Laval police spokeswoman Erika Landry told local media that two children from the nursery were killed in the bus accident. The six injured children have been taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Landry told reporters. The names and ages of the killed and injured children were not immediately released by police.

The street where the crash occurred is home to the Garderie Éducative de Sainte-Rose, a nursery that can accommodate as many as 80 children up to age 5, including 15 infants, according to the website.

Authorities have not identified the 51-year-old bus driver, who is an urban transport worker at the Société de transport de Laval (STL). The suspect was identified by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and other Canadian media identified as Pierre Ny St-Amand.

“He will meet with investigators, but as of now we don’t know the motive of the crime,” Landry said at a news conference Wednesday in Laval, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Montreal. Landry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Neighbors and witnesses told Canadian media that when they tried to rescue the children trapped under the bus, they suppressed the driver, who they said was exhibiting erratic behavior. Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that the driver has worked for the STL for 10 years and has no previous incidents on his record.

“There is a hypothesis that this was an intentional act, but it will have to be confirmed by the investigation,” Boyer said.

In a statement, the STL emphasized that it is cooperating with the investigation into the crash.

“Our hearts go out to the families and employees affected by this tragedy,” the agency said.

News of the bus crash spread across Canada, with officials and residents sharing their grief. Among them was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who described the incident as an “unfathomable, tragic event”.

“My heart is with the people of Laval today,” he said tweeted. “No words can take away the pain and anguish felt by parents, children and employees – but we are here for you.”

Quebec Premier François Legault described the bus accident to reporters as “appalling”.

“There’s nothing worse than being afraid of your child,” he says tweeted.

Video footage from Canadian media shows that the bus drove into the nursery. It turned out that the bus had gone off the road.

Parents of the nursery’s children and those who witnessed the accident and tried to rescue the children trapped under the bus described the scene as “chaos”. Neighbor Hamdi Benchaabane told reporters that he and other parents were able to pull a child from the wreckage but not pull another child out before emergency services arrived. Benchaabane, who said he was told to leave the area because the nursery was collapsing, said the driver appeared to be “in another world” and was naked.

“He screamed, he didn’t stop screaming,” Benchaabane said, according to the Canadian Press. “The first thing he did was take off all his clothes after he opened the door of the bus… He just screamed, no words came out of his mouth.”

Julia Moreno, who told CTV News in Montreal that her 3-year-old son was not injured in the crash, summed up the scene with one word: “Panic.”

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