A long-time bus driver who was hospitalized in critical condition after being pinned between two buses in downtown Vancouver on Monday has died.
Friends and family of Charanjit Parhar told CBC that the experienced bus driver had left his driver's seat to remove the power poles connected to overhead wires to electrically power his bus to allow another driver, who was running late, to pass.
That's when somehow Parhar became pinned between two buses. The details of how and why that happened remain unclear, as the accident is under investigation by police and safety officials.
Parhar was in his mid-60s according to his brother Raja Parhar.
He described the loss of the devoted father and grandfather as "devastating" to the family.
Tilak Rahl said he knew Parhar for 30 years — they met in Punjab, in northern India, before immigrating to Canada.
"He has a wife and three beautiful daughters. He was so happy and he always goes to play with the grandchildren every weekend. He was a hard working guy and so down to earth," said the deceased man's friend.
"It's a big loss. We are going to miss him too much," said Rahl.
He described Parhar as an intelligent, community-minded man who had previously worked as a welder and a taxi driver before becoming a bus driver.
Balbir Mann, president of Unifor Local 111, which represents more than 4,000 Metro Vancouver transit operators, said he worked with Parhar years ago. He described him as a "humble" and "caring" person.
"Twenty-one years on the job and always had a smile on his face for whoever he met throughout the whole day," said Mann. Parhar was treated by paramedics and transported to hospital with grave injuries and struggled to survive. Mann said confirmation of the driver's death elicited "profound sadness," and said that grief support will be available to other workers.
Mann said the "tragic accident" happened around 8:20 a.m. on West Cordova Street near Cambie Street and is under investigation by Vancouver Police and the WorkSafeBC.