An amphibious tour bus crashed into the fence of the prime minister’s unoccupied official residence at 24 Sussex Drive on Wednesday morning during a dry run of a tour route.
No injuries were reported.
Etienne Cameron, a co-owner of Lady Dive Tours in Ottawa, said the company is investigating the crash involving one of its vehicles and 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’s completely fine and even the bus took very little damage.
The same could not be said for the fence around 24 Sussex Drive.
A red “Amphibious” appeared to have veered off the eastbound side of Sussex Drive onto the sidewalk and crashed into the black metal and stone fence outside the residence. A large section of the fence had been knocked down entirely and rocks and rubble were strewn across the ground.
Shortly after noon, a heavy tow truck towed the bus away.
Police tape was strung around the scene and staff from the National Capital Commission, which is the Crown corporation responsible for preserving the capital area, were at the site as crews erected a temporary fence to close up the hole.
“The NCC is co-operating with the police investigation on the matter. In the meantime, we will work to secure the site,” said NCC spokeswoman Dominique Huras in a statement.
Lady Dive Tours operations manager Leon Harris, who remained at the scene, said it’s still unknown how the crash occurred.
“Something happened and the bus lost control,” he said.
He said the bus will be towed to a garage to be examined and will be off the road for the season. The tour company only has one other amphibious bus and it will be challenging to operate without the other, he said, since August is such a busy tourist season.
Nothing like this has ever happened before, he added.
The amphibious bus is designed to travel on roads and in the water. It typically carries tourists past major downtown Ottawa attractions, including the prime minister’s residence and Parliament Hill, and into the Ottawa River.
Cameron said the crash happened during a routine “morning check” during which a driver takes the bus out for a spin prior to tourists getting on board.
Ottawa police said they received a call about a single motor vehicle collision involving a commercial vehicle at 9:21 a.m., and confirmed there are no reported injuries.
The residence is not occupied by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau due to the need for extensive repairs. He lives at Rideau Cottage on the Rideau Hall grounds, though he’s currently on vacation in Costa Rica.
The crash appears unrelated to a separate incident involving what police called an “unauthorized vehicle” that drove into the front gates of Parliament Hill early Wednesday morning.
Police said a vehicle rammed into the gates outside the legislature at about 3:30 a.m. and security infrastructure prevented it from entering the grounds.
An officer was nearby and took the driver into custody without further incident, the police statement said, and no criminal charges have yet been laid.
Laura Osman, The Canadian Press