Monica Lung was on her daily bus ride home from Carleton University in Ottawa when she passed the horrific scene at Westboro station, where a double-decker bus jumped the curb and smashed into the transit shelter.
Three people were killed in the accident, and over 20 were injured.
“I knew it would be bad just by looking at the number of emergency vehicles, but then when my bus kind of passed and I saw the front, I felt like my heart broke,” Lung told Global News.
The bus she was on was following the same route, she said, and was just 200 metres behind the one that crashed. She passed the wreckage so soon after it happened, that emergency vehicles hadn’t even arrived yet.
“My first thought was, ‘I don’t know how anyone could survive that,'” she continued. “I think everyone on my bus felt the same, and then the whole way home no one was speaking. It was really shocking.”
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She told Global News that what chilled her the most is that she’d been sitting in an identical double-decker bus as she passed, in the same upper-right section that saw the most damage from the impact.
Ottawa police held a press conference the day after the accident, but did not reveal the victims’ names.
Police Chief Charles Bordeleau told reporters that an investigation into the cause of the crash was underway, and that the driver of the bus had been released unconditionally following questioning.
WATCH: Ottawa police say investigation underway into bus crash that killed 3, make appeal for witnesses
“It is important that the public does not read into the fact that she was arrested,” Bordeleau told reporters on Saturday, contradicting comments he made Friday stating that “something” at the scene led police officers to arrest the driver and bring her into police headquarters.
As for Lung, she texted her parents immediately to let them know she wasn’t in the accident. While she said she has no choice but to take the bus to and from school every day, she adds that this incident won’t be far from her mind.
“I was sitting in the exact same seat; it could have easily been me,” she said. “It’s really hard to see and it’s even harder to un-see.”
WATCH: Police investigate fatal crash in Ottawa
The Ottawa Hospital tweeted Saturday morning that one patient is currently under treatment in critical condition, six patients are in serious condition and four patients are in stable condition following Friday’s crash.
An investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing, though few details have been released so far.