Kristina Henderson photo

White Rock woman says bus crash was ‘scariest experience in my life’

TransLink investigating Highway 99 collision

A crash that sent a TransLink bus and a camper pulling a trailer into a ditch off Highway 99 Sunday was “probably the most scariest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life,” one passenger reported.

Kristina Henderson told Peace Arch News she was on a northbound 351 Sunday afternoon when it went off the road around 3:30 p.m.

“We were going quite fast, and then there was a trailer beside us,” the White Rock resident said Monday, of the moments prior to the crash. “(The bus driver) slammed on his horn because this trailer was kind of drifting into our lane.

“Before you knew it, we were just kind of sandwiched together. I hit the floor. I went to the ground and just kind of covered my head.

“I thought we were dead.”

No injuries were reported in the crash, which occurred about one kilometre south of Highway 91, near the trestle bridge.

TransLink senior media relations adviser Chris Bryan said preliminary reports indicate the camper and trailer “suddenly swerved in front of the bus,” and both ended up going off the road and into the ditch.

“At the scene, the driver of the camper apparently said they believed they started hydroplaning,” Bryan told PAN.

Henderson, who was on her way to work when the incident occurred, described the rain as a “torrential downpour” at the time.

The mother of two was among about a dozen passengers on the bus. When it came to rest in the water-filled ditch, “we couldn’t get out,” she said.

Another passenger, Gary Drouillard, said he and his wife Pamela were on their way to the airport when the crash occurred. The South Surrey resident described the camper and trailer jack-knifing around the front of the bus, and the vehicles “locked together at full highway speed.” The bus went nose-first into the ditch, he said.

Both Drouillard and Henderson commended passersby who stopped to assist.

“They bravely found some place to cross the ditch and worked tirelessly trying to get us out,” Drouillard wrote in an online comment.

“There was one most heroic woman, who was first on the scene and seemed willing to try anything to get us out safely.”

The Good Samaritans were able to prop a log up against the bus stairs as a makeshift bridge.

“There was lots of them that came and helped,” Henderson said.

Drouillard and his wife are also thankful for two motorists who offered to get them to the airport.

“We caught our flight!” he wrote.

While Henderson was able to continue on to work, she said she was too shaken up to finish her shift.

Bryan said traffic on Highway 99 was backed up “for a couple hours” Sunday while crews cleared the scene.

TransLink is investigating. Bryan said an internal investigation will be part of the effort, to determine “if there’s anything we can learn from it from our end of things.”

An RCMP spokesperson was not available to comment by PAN press time Tuesday.

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