Overloading blamed for death crash

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2005, 12:00am

The uncle of five men killed in a car crash in Guangdong on Sunday yesterday claimed the accident happened because the truck that collided with their Mercedes-Benz was overloaded with fruit.

Chau Shui-sheung, who was travelling in a separate car, said: 'It was very dark when the accident happened. Traffic lights were not enough, and there was no clear road sign placed at the section of the highway that was under construction.

'The tangerine truck carried too much fruit and it was overloaded. That is why we had such a terrible accident.' The truck's driver was detained for questioning.

Mr Chau's 56-year-old brother, Chau Fok-loi, survived the crash, while his Hong Kong nephews, car repair shop owner Chau Wing-fai, 37, and truck driver Chau Kam-lung, 40, were killed instantly. His nephews from the mainland, Wang Jianhui, Zou Shilin and Zou Shiwen, all aged 32, were also killed.

His brother and another mainland nephew, Zou Biwen, 27, are in Huikang Hospital in Huizhou .

The Chau brothers, who had travelled to the mainland with several relatives from Hong Kong, were on an annual tomb-sweeping trip with mainland relatives. The accident occurred at about 1.30am on Sunday on National Highway 205 in Boluo.

Mr Chau said his brother's condition had greatly improved.

'My brother was in a coma and suffering serious bleeding. He can now nod his head and use his eyes to communicate.

'When my brother can breathe on his own ... and all tubes can be removed, we will ask the Immigration Department for help so he can go back to Hong Kong.'

Family members met two department officials at the hospital for 90 minutes yesterday morning.

Mr Chau said they were waiting for the postmortem report and death certificates so the bodies could be cremated in Huizhou.

He said the family of about a dozen people had been singing karaoke until midnight when they split up into two cars.

'My car was about 30 minutes behind my brother's car. When I got there, residents nearby had helped pull out those who were still alive.'

Dai Bin, a doctor at Huikang Hospital, said factory owner Chau Fok-loi's condition was 'still serious, but he ... has gradually improved'.

The condition of Zou Biwen, who suffered head and chest injuries, was not known. His doctor was unavailable for comment.