50th Anniversary of Chipman bus tragedy

Chipman residents gathered on Saturday to remember 17 students who lost their lives in a crash 50 years ago.

It was November 29, 1960 when a group of students from the local high school boarded a school bus bound for Lamont. The bus was struck by a freight train while crossing the tracks in Lamont, killing 17 people on board.

Diane Antoniuk, Shirley Daskaluk, Bernadette Hayduk, Geraldine Koshka, Joan Kozdrowski, Genevieve Ludwig, Kathleen Malkewich, Jenny Ozdoba, Marie Pavich, Barbara Pewarchuk, Rosalin Pylypchuk, Darleen Reinhardt, Sylvia Sawatski, Vivian Sharun, Margaret Winnick, Terrance Wuetherick and Wayne Zapotichny lost their lives on that fateful day.

On this day, many of their family members and friends gathered to honour the fifteen girls and two boys.

More than half a century has past since the accident, but for those who survived the crash, their memories are still strong.

"I suppose I never did come to terms with it." Alice Sutherland said. Sutherland suffered three skull fractures as a result of the crash. "The next thing I knew, I was climbing out of a piece of rubble that was the back of the bus."

Veronica Tovell also spent several weeks in hospital after the tragedy.

"I was in total shock." she said, "I remember a lot of it, but it still seems like a dream."

Both women are seeing some of the graphic newspaper clippings from that time for the first time this year.

"It was something you didn’t discuss back then." Tovell says. "It was put on the backburner and time will heal."

And though time has passed, current Chipman residents are making certain that those who were lost will not be forgotten.