Schoolgirl killed in minibus horror

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2007, 12:00am

Mother sees six-year-old fall under back wheel and get dragged along after her coat is caught in door

A six-year-old schoolgirl was killed in front of her mother yesterday after her coat was caught in the door of a minibus that drove off and dragged her for 12 metres.

The girl suffered severe head injuries after she was caught under the bus as she got off in Prince Edward Road, Kowloon City.

Police said the child and her mother, 42, were on their way to the Heep Woh Primary School, which she attended in the afternoons, when they got off the bus near Embankment Road about noon.

'The girl followed her mother out of the bus. Her overcoat got trapped between the door and the vehicle. The bus moved off and she was pulled down to the ground and her head was run over by the near-side rear wheel,' Vincent Wong Kwok-yan, of Kowloon West traffic unit, said. 'I don't think the driver knew. Her mother chased after the bus and hit it and then the driver stopped.'

Mr Wong said it appeared the driver pulled off as the child was disembarking and failed to check whether she had cleared the door.

The girl was pronounced dead at Kwong Wah Hospital at 12.30pm.

The driver, surnamed Wong, 48, was arrested for dangerous driving causing death. He was released on HK$5,000 police bail and ordered to report back on February 8.

The Education and Manpower Bureau sent psychologists to the school to counsel the staff and pupils, including a Primary Six girl who witnessed the accident.

School head Wong Yuk-tong said: 'The girl's mother is very upset but is still showing strong will. She said she will carry on for her son.' The girl's elder brother is a Primary Six student at the school.

Police questioned passengers on the bus, which was en route from Yau Tong to Mong Kok.

Au-yeung Ming, director of the Motor Transport Workers' General Union's minibus driver branch, called on drivers to be more patient while passengers were getting off, especially in winter, when passengers were slowed down by bulky clothing. Drivers should wait until the passenger is at least a few steps from the bus, he said.

Mr Au-yeung said drivers were reluctant to install sensors that could warn them of passengers caught in bus doors because these devices were unable to detect soft material or clothing.

A spokesman for the Taxi and Public Light Bus Concern Group said the industry would not support a proposal to install sensors because the device was not useful and would add extra costs to the trade.

Anyone with information on the accident should contact Kowloon West traffic special investigation team on 2773 5220.