An amphibious tour bus crashed into the fence at 24 Sussex Drive, the Prime Minister’s unoccupied official residence, this morning.
Etienne Cameron, co-owner of Lady Dive Tours in Ottawa, says the company is investigating the accident involving one of its vehicles. The driver, whom he did not immediately identify, was the only person on board.
The driver would not give his name at the scene of the crash, but said he was perfectly fine and even the bus suffered very little damage.
Photos posted to social media this morning show a red ‘Amphibus’ appearing to have swerved off the east side of Sussex Drive onto the pavement and crashed into the black metal and stone fence outside the residence.
Much of the fence had been completely knocked down, and rocks and rubble were strewn across the ground.
Cameron says the crash happened during a routine “morning check” in which a driver takes the bus out for a spin before tourists board.
Ottawa police say they received a call about a single motor vehicle collision involving a commercial vehicle at 9:21 a.m. and confirmed no injuries were reported.
Shortly after noon, a heavy tow truck towed the bus.
Police tape was stretched around the scene and staff from the National Capital Commission, which is the crown corporation responsible for the preservation of the capital region, were on the scene as the teams erected a temporary fence to close the hole.
“The NCC is cooperating with the police investigation into the matter. In the meantime, we will work to secure the site,” NCC spokeswoman Dominique Huras said in a statement.
Bad timing for the tourist season
Lady Dive Tours operations manager Leon Harris, who remained at the scene, said it was still unclear how the accident happened.
“Something happened and the bus lost control,” he said.
He said the bus will be towed to a garage for examination and will be off the road for the season. The tour company only has one other amphibious bus and it will be difficult to operate without the other, he said, as August is a busy tourist season.
Nothing like this has ever happened before, he added.
The amphibious bus is designed to move on roads and in water. It typically carries tourists past major downtown Ottawa attractions, including the Prime Minister’s Residence and Parliament Hill, and into the Ottawa River.
The residence is not occupied by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau due to the need for major repairs. He lives at Rideau Cottage on the grounds of Rideau Hall, although he is currently vacationing in Costa Rica.
The accident was one of two bizarre incidents in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday morning. Earlier Wednesday, a vehicle slammed into a gate on Parliament Hill.