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Toronto Community mourns TTC crash victim who 'was always smiling'

Kandiah Kanagarajah, 57, holds a picture of his younger sister, Manoranjana Kanagasabapathy, 52, who died at the scene of a collision between a TTC bus and a cube truck Tuesday morning.

Cynthia McQueen/The Globe and Mail

Kandiah Kanagarajah started to cry as he talked about his baby sister Manoranjana Kanagasabapathy, who died Tuesday as she boarded a stopped TTC bus that was struck by a cube truck at Steeles Avenue and Middlefield Road.

People were always telling Mr. Kanagarajah that his sister never frowned. "She was always smiling," said Mr. Kanagarajah, "which is hard to find nowadays."

Ms. Kanagasabapathy, 52, is survived by her husband, Manickam Kanagasabapathy, 59, a daughter, 27, a nine-month-old granddaughter, and a 23-year-old son who just finished university.

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The family is devastated. "She was in the middle of her life," said her brother, 57. "She hadn't seen her son married."

Pointing to his sister's home, he said she was always full of joy.

"She was so rich in her heart that she lived like a millionaire," he said.

Ms. Kanagasabapathy was killed as she boarded the Toronto Transit Commission bus while another woman, 43, was struck after she had left the bus. The 43-year-old remains in hospital with life-threatening injuries. Twelve people in all were taken to hospital, but most had minor injuries.

According to a Toronto Police news release, a cube truck crossed into the westbound lanes, jumped the curb, struck a hydro pole and collided with the bus, which was stationary.

A family friend said Ms. Kanagasabapathy was very involved in the community.

When people heard about the accident, they started showing up Tuesday with chairs, and a tent and food. The driveway and family home was crowded with mourners Wednesday night as people came to pay their respects.

"She was a wonderful lady," said Thampiah Siripathy who knew Ms. Kanagasabapathy through the classical music community. Her daughter plays violin.

Until the accident reconstruction team can investigate at the scene, Toronto police Constable Clint Stibbe said nothing is certain. "Every investigation is different," he said Wednesday.

No charges have been laid and there are no further details available about the accident.

"This is a very traumatic incident for everybody on board and the city itself because it was serious accident," Constable Stibbe said.

EMS confirmed two of those transported to hospital were the drivers of the bus, a 36-year-old man, and the driver of the cube truck, a 40-year-old man.

According to TTC head Andy Byford, the bus operator was released from hospital Tuesday.

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"He's at home at the moment and we're making sure that he's very well looked after," Mr. Byford said Wednesday. "When I saw him [Tuesday], he was understandably completely traumatized by what had happened," Mr. Byford said.

The bus operator sustained neck and back impact injuries from the accident. "It was horrible what happened to him," Mr. Byford said.

The TTC head has tried to reach out to the families of the victims and the widow of the deceased on Wednesday and says he will continue to do so. "It must have been horrendous for them [the victims]," he said.

The bus has been towed to TTC Malvern Division.

The TTC has provided police with in-bus CCTV footage and Mr. Byford clarified that footage does not include forward-facing cameras. "Anything and everything that we can give to police for assistance has been done," he said.

The memorial for Ms. Kanagasabapathy will be held Saturday at Highland Memorial at 3280 Sheppard Ave. E.

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With a report from Oliver Moore

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