Ottawa police have released the names of the three deceased victims in Friday’s bus crash at Westboro bus station.
According to police, 56-year-old Bruce Thomlinson, 57-year-old Judy Booth, and 65-year-old Anja Van Beek have been identified as the three passengers who died as a result of the collision.
“The identification of those who died is a difficult and important process and I want to offer the condolences of the Ottawa Police and our entire community,” said Chief Charles Bordeleau in a release. “We have worked to support the families and loved ones of those involved and will continue to be there for them.”
All three were public servants. Thomlinson worked for the Canadian Border Services Agency; Van Beek worked for the federal Treasury Board. Other reports say that Booth had retired from the National Capital Commission but still worked there part-time on contract.
At city hall on Monday, Mayor Jim Watson signed the book of condolences that the city set out for residents and expressed his sympathies to the families of the victims during a brief media availability with reporters.
“I just want to offer my sincere condolences to the families of the three individuals who were killed on Friday night at the Westboro transit station,” Watson said. “This is a difficult time for obviously the family members, those family members of individuals who are still in hospital and individuals who witnessed the horrific crash on Friday.”
“The whole city is grieving right now and this is an opportunity for us to come together and offer some words of comfort to those who have lost loved ones and to pray for those who are still in hospital recovering.”
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Ottawa police and the regional coroner were responsible for identifying all three of the victims.
Police say the names and photos are released with permission from the families. The police investigation is now focusing on speaking with eyewitnesses and combing through the wreckage of the bus looking for clues about what caused the crash.
Families of the victims release statements
In statements released by the families of the victims on Friday all three say they are devastated by the events and ask for privacy in their time of grief.
“We are devastated by the loss of Bruce and our condolences go out to the other families affected by this same tragedy,” said the family of Bruce Tomlinson. “We want to thank the public for their thoughts and prayers. Bruce was dedicated to his family and will be missed by his wife and his two boys, and extended family and friends. He was the husband and father that gave us great joy in life through his silliness, sense of humour and love of the outdoors. We ask that you respect our privacy as we mourn the loss of Bruce during this difficult time.”
“This tragedy has shaken our family deeply,” said the family of Judy Booth. “We thank everyone for their kind words and best wishes during this difficult time. Judy was a cherished wife to Ches and loving mother to both of her girls, Holly and Karen. She was an absolute treasure and a beautiful soul that will be profoundly missed by her family and many friends. We ask that you respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our wife and mother.”
“Anja Van Beek resided in Kanata with her husband and two daughters,” said the family of Anja Van Beek. “She was a Federal Government employee on her way home from work Friday afternoon, on OC Transpo’s Bus 269. She leaves behind extended family in Ottawa, Toronto and the Netherlands. As you can understand, her family is grieving and would appreciate if you respected their privacy.”
Besides Thomlinson, Booth and Van Beek, 23 people were hurt badly enough to be taken to hospitals. Const. Chuck Benoit of the Ottawa police said several of the people hurt had limbs amputated.
With files from the Canadian Press and Beatrice Britneff
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