One person was arrested after a city bus hit a daycare on Wednesday morning in Laval, Que., just north of Montreal, injuring at least eight people, some of them children.
Around 8:30 a.m., a bus from the Société de transport de Laval (STL) hit a daycare in the Sainte-Rose neighbourhood on Terrasse Dufferin, according to a Laval police spokesperson.
The Garderie Éducative de Sainte-Rose is located on that street.
Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel said the driver of the bus had been arrested.
An Urgences-santé spokesperson said at least eight were injured, and at least one person had been transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries. As of 9:30 a.m., details of the injured, including their ages, were not known.
A spokesperson for Sainte-Justine Hospital, one of the pediatric hospitals in Montreal, later confirmed that injured children had been transported there and some of them had serious injuries requiring urgent care.
The hospital told Radio Canada teams are doing “everything possible to treat the patients, but also to support the families in this tragic situation.”
An update from Sainte-Justine is expected early in the afternoon.
“It’s chaos,” said Julia Moreno, a mother whose child was in the daycare when the bus struck it. “There are injured children. It’s terrible.”
Nathalie Vaillancourt, another mother whose child was inside, said the bus destroyed the front facade of the daycare. Both mothers said their children were unscathed.
A parent at the scene told Radio-Canada he helped subdue the suspect.
City buses don’t normally drive near the daycare, which is on a quiet side street, away from STL bus routes.
Urgences-santé dispatched seven ambulances, a “tactical medical vehicle” — which responds to unusual medical situations, often alongside police — and a rapid response team.
“It’s terrible what happened this morning in Laval,” Premier François Legault told a group of reporters at the National Assembly. “All my thoughts are with the children, with the parents and with the employees.”
Legault said Bonnardel, Family Minister Suzanne Roy and Christopher Skeete, the MNA for the Sainte-Rose riding, will be in Laval to assess the situation.
Stéphane Boyer, the mayor of Laval, said the driver had been employed by the STL for 10 years or so but didn’t have any prior incidents on his record.
“There’s nothing special to mention at that level,” he said. “There is a hypothesis that this was an intentional act but it will have to be confirmed by the investigation.”
Boyer said psychologists would be available for those affected. “It’s a tragic act,” he said. “Obviously there are lots of parents right now wondering if their child was affected. I really want to be there for the families, show support.”
The STL said in a statement it was devastated by the “tragedy in Laval.”
“Our hearts go out to the families and employees affected by this tragedy,” the statement said. “The Service de police de la Ville de Laval is currently conducting an investigation in which we are actively collaborating.”