Cape Breton offers comfort to husband of bus crash victim

Harry Sullivan
Published on July 17, 2014

Rev. Ron Coole, seen in this file photo, helped comfort Dave Bowers, the grieving husband of Cabot Trail bus crash victim Joyce Bowers. Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY — Rev. Ron Coole said goodbye to Dave Bowers just before he flew out of J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport early Wednesday morning.

Bowers' wife Joyce was the lone fatality in a tour bus that crashed along the Cabot Trail on Sunday.

Coole offered comfort to Bowers after that tragedy as part of his role as clergy for the Cape Breton District Health Authority.

"The other night I wasn't supposed to be on call but they did get a hold of me and I went in and met with Dave and it went from there," said Coole.

"I saw him off this morning at 6:30 (a.m.) to go home. He is doing very well, considering."

Bowers told Coole his wife was his best friend and that thy were very involved in the church in their home town of Ephrata, Pa.

Coole described Bowers as "one of the finest gentleman I've ever met."

"We've probably struck up some kind of friendship."

Bowers found nothing but kindness after his wife's death, according to Coole.

"He was very appreciative. He couldn't get over all the things people had done for him here. He said it was sad that it happened, but if it had to happen, he wouldn't want it to happen in any other place.'"

Support for the Bowers came from all corners of the medical community.

"The nursing staff and staff at the hospital from where I came in were dedicated, committed, caring, and couldn't do enough for him," Coole said.

"It is amazing. We don't realize how well we really have it.

"He was just so appreciative."

Coole also had some brief interactions with other passengers on the bus.

Whenever he's called in during such situations, he said it's important to simply be there for families and to be compassionate and considerate.

"You go in and do the best you can and be there for them."

Meanwhile, RCMP are reporting that preliminary findings of an inspection on the bus indicate mechanical failure was not a contributing factor.

The finding follows a motor-vehicle inspection performed by the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation on Monday.

Eighteen of the 21 passengers on the tour bus were treated for injuries after it rolled into a ditch near Neils Harbour and landed on its side.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.