Bus Accident Hong Kong - 19 Dead & 61 Injured

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Tim Williams
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Bus Accident Hong Kong - 19 Dead & 61 Injured

Post by Tim Williams »

The bus involved was a Wright bodied Volvo B10TL of KMB Kowloon Motor Bus) and was on route 872 from Sha Tin Racecourse to Tai Po Central, the accident occured at about 6.30pm local time on Saturday - the details below come from the well respected South China Morning Post:-

11 Feb 2018

Nineteen people were killed and more than 60 injured on Saturday when a Hong Kong bus packed with passengers heading home from a day at the races crashed.

It was the city’s deadliest bus accident in nearly 15 years, sparking a full-scale emergency operation as dozens of police officers and firefighters swarmed over the vehicle to rescue victims still trapped in the KMB double-decker while paramedics set up a triage centre by the road.

Fifteen men and three women were confirmed dead at the scene, while 61 injured passengers were rushed to 12 public hospitals across the city. Ten were fighting for their lives in hospital while 15 were in a serious condition.

The city’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor visited the victims in hospital and announced that the government would set up an independent committee, chaired by a judge, to investigate bus safety.

“The goal is to ensure a safe and reliable public transport system ... especially for bus services,” Lam said.

Senior police superintendent Li Chi-wai, of New Territories North, said the force suspected that the driver was “speeding when driving down a slope, lost control” and then the double-decker “turned over on its left”.

Li said officers would investigate the driver’s psychological state at the time of the accident, the speed the bus was travelling and whether it had any mechanical issues.

He added that the driver had not been under the influence of alcohol and had not needed any medical help.

The exact cause of the crash was not clear, but according to eyewitness accounts, the route 872 bus was on its way from Sha Tin racecourse to Tai Po Centre when it flipped onto its side while negotiating a turn on Tai Po Road, near Tsung Tsai Yuen. Passengers suggested the bus was speeding downhill at the time, and the driver appeared to be upset after he was told off for being late.

“He was late for 10 minutes,” a passenger recalled of the driver. “He was grumpy because some people criticised him for being late. He then started to drive the bus like he was flying a plane.”

Another passenger said: “He was driving very fast, extremely fast, even if he was driving down a slope.”

One of the victims, who sat by the side of the road with his right leg bandaged, also suggested the driver had been speeding.

SSIt was like the tyres skidded, and the bus overturned

injured passenger

“It was much faster than I normally feel on a bus,” he said. “And then it was like the tyres skidded, and the bus overturned. It was really chaotic on the bus. People fell on top of one another and got tossed around from side to side.”

Police said they had received multiple calls reporting the accident at around 6pm and it was 9.30pm by the time they managed to pull survivors and bodies out of the wreckage. Investigators were looking into whether the driver had been speeding after finding skid marks stretching 30 metres at the scene. The bus had come to a stop after crashing into a lamp post while on its side.

Many passengers, injured and in shock, were sitting by the road as paramedics provided first aid. Many had bandages wrapped around their heads and several were bleeding as they were stretchered onto waiting ambulances.

The bodies of the victims were covered and laid by the roadside, waiting to be taken to the morgue.

Most of the injured were sent to Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin, Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital in Tai Po, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Ho Man Tin and United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong.

SSThere were no signs that he was exhausted

KMB’s Godwin So, of the bus driver

KMB general manager Godwin So Wai-kei said at the crash site that the franchised bus company would give a condolence allowance of HK$80,000 (US$10,000) to each injured person and family of the deceased.

He said the 30-year-old driver had joined the company in 2014 and changed to working part-time last September. The driver was familiar with the route, which was only operated on racing days, and he had last been on it nearly three weeks ago.

“There were no signs that he was exhausted,” So said, adding that the driver had been working seven-hour shifts for the past four days, and was on a four-hour shift on Saturday.

So said KMB would launch its own investigation into the accident, led by independent directors of the firm, and would hand in a report to the Transport Department in a month’s time.

The accident was the deadliest since 2003, when 21 people were killed after a double-decker bus plunged off a Tuen Mun flyover following a collision with a container truck.

In 2008, a speeding bus careered out of control at a Sai Kung roundabout, leaving 18 people dead and 44 injured.

Last September, three people were killed and 29 injured when a double-decker bus mounted a pavement and ploughed into pedestrians at the junction of Yen Chow Street and Cheung Sha Wan Road in Sham Shui Po during rush hour.

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