The company that owns the chartered motor coach involved in a fiery incident Sunday evening on Highway 11 some 230 kilometres north of North Bay, has issued a statement.
Destined for North Bay from Kapuskasing the bus was carrying members of the U18 North Bay Trappers hockey club, its coaching staff, some parents, and the motor coach operator. Everyone on board escaped safely before the passenger area was consumed by the flames at the side of Highway 11 near the West Sesekinika Lake Road exit, outside of Kenogami Lake.
See original story: VIDEO: North Bay U18 Trappers hockey team safe after bus fire
Tisdale Bus Lines president Ron Malette says, "At approximately 6:52 p.m., our driver felt a tire blow out on the left rear tag axle. He promptly pulled over to a safe area off of the highway and exited to inspect the tire. At that point, the rear of the motor coach was engulfed in flames. He immediately ran back into the coach and asked everyone to exit immediately, with 'no time to grab personal belongings.'
"As passengers were getting off, a call was placed to 911 and all passengers marshalled a safe distance away from the coach. My understanding is that the OPP transported the passengers to the Kenogamisi Fire Station, a few kilometres away.
"We immediately dispatched a rescue unit to get the passengers home. I then contacted the hockey team's manager, ensuring she was aware [of the incident] at which point she confirmed she was on the coach at the time."
All equipment and personal belongings stowed on the motor coach were lost.
"I suggested she reach out to me this morning and we will gather a passenger manifest as well as a loss report of the equipment and personal belongings of each passenger," Malette continues. "We want to ensure an expeditious replacement of the losses, we are here to support them and have the kids back on the ice as soon as possible."
The OPP is investigating the incident.
Monday, U18 Trappers head coach Doug Sanders said, "No further comments will be made until after an investigation is complete. We are glad that everyone is safe and thankful to the community for their support."
According to the Tisdale website, "With our modern fleet of motor coaches and mini-buses, we have the vehicles and the staff to look after all of your transportation needs in a safe, affordable, and professional manner.
"We at Tisdale strive to provide our clients with the best service possible. We want to ensure that your travel needs are taken care of from the minute you step on our bus, until the time you step off. Our staff is highly qualified and well-trained, and is there to look after all our passengers’ needs."