In a statement released on Tuesday, the Department of National Defence said nine of their colleagues were on the bus that crashed into a shelter at the Westboro bus station, killing three and injuring 23 others.
Four of those involved were members of the Canadian Forces and five were civilians. The department did not say whether or not they were injured out of respect for their privacy.
“This has the potential to change their lives forever and we are keeping them and their families in our thoughts as they begin to heal,” the department said in the statement. “We are also reaching out to those affected to make sure they receive the fullest support we can offer.”
The crash claimed the lives of three people, two of whom were current employees in the public service and one retired. Fifty-six-year-old Bruce Thomlinson, 57-year-old Judy Booth and 65-year-old Anja Van Beek died as a result of the collision.
“We are all part of a tightly knit community, serving Canadians alongside our federal colleagues across the country,” said the department. “The entire Defence Team’s thoughts are with all of those impacted by this incident.”
The department went on to acknowledge the toll that the crash will have not only on those involved but also on those with loved ones, friends or colleagues who have been affected.
The department encouraged those affected to seek support through the various programs being offered.
“Taking public transportation is part of the daily routine for many of us which adds to the shock of such a tragic accident and reminds us all of the fragility of life,” said the department. “Take the time you need to talk about this with each other, with your supervisor, or with your friends. Above all, take care of one another.”
Ottawa Public Health has outlined on its website strategies to help cope with a tragic accident like this, including:
- Follow a normal routine as much as possible.
- Eat healthy meals. Be careful not to skip meals or to overeat.
- Exercise and stay active.
- Help other people in your community as a volunteer. Stay busy.
- Accept help from family, friends, co-workers or clergy. Talk about your feelings with them.
- Limit your time around the sights and sounds of what happened. Don’t dwell on TV, radio, or newspaper reports on the tragedy.
OPH staff members have also been out in the city talking to residents and informing them on some of the services they offer.
For those looking for help, visit the Ottawa Public Health website.