Bus passenger dies after being thrown from top deck

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2006, 12:00am

Vehicle rams back of broken-down truck after switching lanes

A passenger died after being thrown from the top deck of a bus in a three-vehicle crash in Kwai Chung yesterday.

Two other passengers were thrown out of the vehicle and badly hurt, and a further 18 suffered lesser injuries.

The Kowloon Motor Bus double-decker slammed into a container truck that had broken down in Kwai Chung Road at 10.30am. A second truck then hit the back of the bus. The crash broke open the front of the bus.

Siu Man-tin, 36, his sister Siu Man-sin, 46, and Cheng Ying-cheung, 52, were thrown from the bus and taken to Princess Margaret Hospital. The younger Siu died last night. The other two were listed as serious. Mr Cheng's eight-year-old son was also critically injured.

A 22-year-old woman was in stable condition in Yan Chai Hospital. The rest were discharged after receiving treatment.

KMB said the bus driver, 25, who was unhurt, was suspended from duties pending an internal investigation.

The Tuen Mun-bound bus was switching lanes on the five-lane Kwai Chung Road outside Container Terminal No4 when the accident occurred.

The pile-up disrupted traffic for more than two hours, with queues on Kwai Chung Road reaching back 1km to Mei Foo Sun Chuen.

'When the bus driver saw the container truck in front broken down in the second lane, he braked and swerved to its right, but ploughed into the right side of the truck,' said Senior Inspector Kiang Kwok-ming, of New Territories South traffic unit.

He said the second truck failed to stop in time and slammed into the back of the bus.

The container truck driver, who was unhurt, said the crash happened about five minutes after his vehicle broke down. He said he had turned on the truck's hazard lights to alert other drivers.

'At the time of the incident, I was inside the cabin trying to contact a garage,' he said. 'Suddenly, there were two loud bangs and my truck shook badly.

'When I got out, I found three injured people lying on the road. They were thrown out from the upper deck of the bus. They suffered serious injuries and they were bleeding.'

Another police officer at the scene said the windscreen and several seats were also thrown from the upper deck. 'Some bus passengers were thrown out of their seats and others were bleeding from their heads or mouths after they were rammed into the seats in front of them,' he said.

Superintendent Law King-fu said evidence suggested the bus driver did not watch the road carefully while changing lanes. He said the second truck was apparently following too close as well.

The site of the crash was not a traffic black spot, he said.

The bus, which was bought for about $2 million from Britain in 1999, passed its monthly inspection on July 1. It is among about 2,300 buses that do not have seat belts.

The KMB spokeswoman said 1,737 vehicles bought since 2001 are equipped with seat belts, but passengers are not required to wear them.