Eighteen killed after KMB double-decker crashes

Eighteen killed after KMB double-decker crashes

Eighteen killed after KMB double-decker crashes

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the accident. Photo: RTHK

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the accident. Photo: RTHK

Jimmy Choi reports

At least 18 people have been killed, and dozens injured, after a KMB double-decker bus lost control on Tai Po Road, near Tsung Tsai Yuen, on Saturday evening. It’s not certain what caused the accident.

The number 872 bus had been on its way to Tai Po from Shatin racecourse. Footage showed the bus had flipped over onto its side with debris strewn along the kerbside. Dazed passengers and the injured were also seen sitting, or lying, on the kerb. 

The driver has been arrested for dangerous driving causing injuries and death.

It’s Hong Kong’s worst bus accident since 2003, when 21 people died after a bus plunged off a Tuen Mun fly-over. In 2008, 18 people lost their lives when a bus lost control at a Sai Kung roundabout. 

But the SAR has also witnessed more recent fatal bus accidents. Last September, three people died when a double-decker ploughed into pedestrians in Sham Shui Po, and earlier in the year there was a fatal accident near the Eastern Harbour Crossing when a bus overturned. 

KMB expressed regret over the fatal accident. 

“We’re deeply sorry for that accident. We will form a committee, that will be led by our independent non-executive directors, to investigate the accident,” said Godwin So, KMB’s general manager in charge of corporate planning and business development. 

So also said the driver, who joined the company in 2014 and started working part-time last year, had had sufficient rest before beginning his shift.

KMB officials said he has a good driving record and it was not the first time he was driving the route. They also said he was rostered to work four hours on Saturday. The bus company said it will give HK$80,000 to support each affected family and will also help them claim insurance.

The Chief Executive Carrie Lam says she will order an independent inquiry to see whether there are any systemic problems with the city’s bus operations following the accident. She said the commission will be headed by a judge and she expects it to come up with suggestions to ensure Hong Kong’s public transport system is safe and reliable. 

Speaking to reporters after visiting the injured who had been sent to the Prince of Wales Hospital, the CE said the government is deeply grieved by the accident. Lam said authorities had activated emergency response mechanisms to provide financial and psychological support to the families affected.

The fatalities include 15 males and three females.

The government says, as at 10pm, 10 people are in a critical condition in hospital, 15 are serious and 29 are stable. The condition of seven others is unknown. One person has been discharged.

Police have set up a hotline, for those wishing to enquire about the dead and the injured. The number is 1878999

Last updated: 2018-02-10 HKT 23:04