Man dies after crash on his way to hospital

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 12:00am

An elderly man who collapsed in his home died after the ambulance he was travelling in crashed and delayed his arrival at hospital by 13 minutes.

Fire Services Department officials have pledged to investigate the incident, which happened when the vehicle tried to run a red light.

Emergency crews were called to a flat in Sung Kit Street in Hunghom at 2am after the 72-year-old man collapsed.

He had stopped breathing and had no pulse when ambulancemen arrived at the scene five minutes later, according to a spokesman for Fire Services Department.

The ambulance with the victim, his son, a police constable and three ambulancemen on board left the scene at 2.21am.

But three minutes later it collided with a minibus after trying to go through a red light at the junction of Bailey Street and Ma Tau Wai Road. The minibus then hit a nearby taxi.

Seven people, including the three ambulancemen and the constable, suffered minor injuries. They were treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and discharged.

The spokesman said the elderly man, who was strapped to a stretcher, and his son were uninjured.

Another ambulance arrived to pick up the elderly man at 2.31am and left the scene six minutes later. He was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was declared dead.

The Fire Services spokesman said ambulance drivers were allowed to run red lights in emergency situations if traffic conditions allowed.

'The driver of the ambulance, who is also an ambulanceman, claimed that he had his vehicle's flashing blue light and siren switched on at the time of the collision,' he added.

He said the department would investigate but would not comment on whether the delay might be to blame for the man's death.