At least 18 people have died after a double-decker bus crashed on Saturday evening in Hong Kong. Local media reports quoted passengers as telling the crowded vehicle tipped over after it had been traveling too fast. A police spokeswoman told 15 men and 3 women were killed in accident near town of Tai Po in the northern New Territories.
Nearly 50 people were injured and taken to hospitals, including 19 in serious condition. The South China Morning Post told it was Hong Kong’s worst road accident since a 2003 bus crash that killed 21. Photos published by social media showed gold-coloured bus lying on its side with its roof torn off, while emergency workers treated injured passengers nearby. It appeared to have slid on its side and hit a lamppost which cut through front of the vehicle. Rescuers were attempting to reach passengers trapped in wreckage, although police were unable to say how many were still inside.
‘It was much faster than I normally felt in a bus and then it was like the tyre slipped, and the bus turned. It was really chaotic in the bus. People fell on one another and got tossed from side to side’ an injured passenger said.
Earlier passengers complained to driver who was reportedly 10 minutes late. He then kept speeding up before bus crashed quoting injured passengers at scene. ‘Driver was intentionally using the bus to throw a tantrum’ another injured passenger said. Lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting of Democratic Party urged government to investigate bus designs ‘especially with the upper deck of buses having been repeatedly torn off in accidents, posing a serious threat to passengers on the upper level’.
The Chinese city promotes its public transport system as one of best infrastructures in world but fatal accidents do occasionally happen:
In 2003 a double-decker bus collided with a truck and plunged from a bridge, killing 21 people.
In 2008, 18 people were killed in another bus crash.
In April 2017 14 people were injured when a double-decker tram tipped over, with a 23-year-old driver later arrested for dangerous driving
Safety of Hong Kong’s waterways has also remained under scrutiny since 39 people were killed when a high-speed ferry and a pleasure boat crashed in 2012.