By Chad Ingram
Published Oct. 27 2016
Some Haliburton County residents were among the nearly 50 members of the Algonquin Shrine Club who were in a bus crash en route to Montreal earlier this month.
While there were no fatalities many Shriners wound up with cuts and bruising some with broken bones.
Algonquin Highlands residents Bob and Joan Mann were aboard the bus when it set out from Bancroft on Oct. 14.
“We were going to Montreal to spend the night and the next day we were going to tour the Shriner’s hospital” Bob explained. “The bus was rolling along . . . everybody’s got a different opinion about the speed of the bus. We can only assume that he [the driver] was going too fast.”
The bus was just west of Denbigh Ont. when the crash happened along Highway 28.
“All of a sudden I heard this great big ‘whack’” Bob said explaining it appeared the driver had taken out a road sign.
He said the bus then careened to the right flipping onto its passenger side.
“Everybody behind the door is now on the other side.”
That included Bob and Joan who had been sitting on the driver’s side about 10 rows back.
“Neither one of us remember being airborne” Bob said describing how quickly everything had happened.
T hen someone who Bob believed to be a passing truck driver had removed the smashed front window of the bus helping trapped riders exit the vehicle.
“We were fortunate because there was grass and no rock” Bob said of the bus’s resting place. While he and Joan and friends Todd and Gail Grainger of Lake Kashagawigamog escaped with mostly bumps and bruises Bob said some Shriners suffered more severe injuries including broken ribs and a fractured pelvis.
With no cell service in the area Bob said a 911 call was made from the landline of a nearby home with the local fire department police and ambulances arriving on scene.
The Manns and some friends were transported by ambulance back to Bancroft where their vehicles were.
At press time the OPP were continuing to investigate the crash and the owners of the bus company Belleville-based Franklin Coach Lines said they had no comment until a police report had been received.