Island tour

VIDEO: A tour bus crashes into the gates of 24 Sussex, the PM’s vacant official residence

An amphibious tour bus crashed into the fence of the Prime Minister’s unoccupied official residence at 24 Sussex Drive on Wednesday morning during an empty test of a tour route.

No injuries were reported.

Etienne Cameron, co-owner of Lady Dive Tours in Ottawa, said the company was investigating the accident 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 was perfectly fine and even the bus suffered very little damage.

The same could not be said for the fence surrounding 24 Sussex Drive.

A red ‘amphibious’ appears to have swerved off the east side of Sussex Drive onto the pavement and crashed into the black metal and stone fence outside the residence. Much of the fence had been completely knocked down, and rocks and rubble were strewn across the ground.

Shortly after noon, a heavy tow truck towed the bus.

Police tape was stretched around the scene and staff from the National Capital Commission, which is the crown corporation responsible for the preservation of the capital region, were on the scene as the teams erected a temporary fence to close the hole.

“The NCC is cooperating with the police investigation into this matter. In the meantime, we will work to secure the site,” NCC spokeswoman Dominique Huras said in a statement.

Lady Dive Tours operations manager Leon Harris, who remained at the scene, said it was still unclear how the accident happened.

“Something happened and the bus lost control,” he said.

He said the bus will be towed to a garage for examination and will be off the road for the season. The tour company only has one other amphibious bus and it will be difficult to operate without the other, he said, as August is a busy tourist season.

Nothing like this has ever happened before, he added.

The amphibious bus is designed to move on roads and in 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 accident happened during a routine “morning check” in which a driver got out of the bus for a ride before tourists boarded.

Ottawa police say they received a call about a single motor vehicle collision involving a commercial vehicle at 9:21 a.m. and confirmed no injuries were reported.

The residence is not occupied by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau due to the need for major repairs. He lives at Rideau Cottage on the grounds of Rideau Hall, although he is currently vacationing in Costa Rica.

The crash does not appear to be linked to a separate incident involving what police called an “unauthorized vehicle” that drove through the front doors of Parliament Hill early Wednesday morning.

Police said a vehicle rammed the gates outside the legislature around 3:30 a.m. and security infrastructure prevented it from entering the grounds.

An officer was nearby and arrested the driver without further incident, the police statement said, and no criminal charges have yet been laid.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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