Saturday, 4 February 2017

HONG KONG: Cross-harbour Bus Crash

Citybus driver was arrested after a crash that caused the death of a woman and left 17 other passengers injured.

Police were called to the scene on Lei Yue Mun Road near Lam Tin MTR station public transport interchange shortly before 9pm on Saturday, after a Citybus cross-harbour double decker lost control and crashed.

The route 681 bus, carrying passengers from Ma On Shan town centre to Hong Kong station, rammed into concrete barriers separating the second and third lanes of the four-lane road before flipping onto its side and mounting the pavement.

The 61-year-old driver was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving causing the death of a 42-year-old passenger. The passenger suffered serious injuries to her head and was declared dead at the scene, police said.

Seventeen other passengers were injured. Among them, three were in a serious condition on Sunday, 10 were in a stable condition and the rest had been discharged from hospital.

A male passenger said the bus was travelling fast at the time.

“Suddenly the bus rocked and boom, boom … It flipped on to its side,” he told reporters at the scene.
“It was very chaotic, and blood was everywhere.”

A total of 79 fire fighters and ambulancemen took part in the rescue effort, with the help of six fire engines and 14 ambulances.

Wong Tai Sin Fire Station Commander Lee Kin-chung said firefighters had arrived at the scene at 8:57pm, five minutes after a request for dispatch was received.

While 14 passengers were able to evacuate themselves, five remained trapped in the bus and had to be freed, he added, with one found dead at the scene.

Lee said one of the challenges was to enter the cramped space inside the bus, with the windshield and back windows providing the only passages for fire fighters.

Traffic Kowloon East Special Investigation officer-in-charge Cheng King-man police would investigate the accident by studying the road design, the driver’s psychological state and the mechanical condition of the bus.
He could not ascertain claims that the driver had driven in the wrong lane and was attempting to swerve left to correct his mistake at the time.

Cranes were sent to the scene to lift the bus up.

Eastbound lanes of the road – a major thoroughfare for buses crossing the harbour through the Eastern Harbour Crossing – were once closed, causing major traffic disruption on the Kwun Tong Bypass and Kwun Tong Road.

Citybus later issued a statement expressing deep condolences to the victim and her family, adding the company would provide assistance while fully cooperating with the police in their investigation.

It revealed the bus was 5½ years old and had passed an inspection last Saturday.

The driver joined the company in 1993 and began his shift at 7.10pm on Saturday. He passed both drug and breathalyser tests.