Miracle escape as container crushes taxi

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 April, 2007, 12:00am

A taxi driver and his passenger miraculously survived after the back of the vehicle was crushed by a container that fell off a truck in Tsuen Wan yesterday morning.

Police said the crash happened at about 7am as the driver of the truck exiting Tsuen Wan Road lost control at the Hoi Hing Road roundabout.

The truck, carrying leather materials and thought to have been overloaded, tipped onto its side and the container it was transporting fell on the taxi, which was exiting the roundabout and entering Tai Chung Road.

The 36-year-old back-seat passenger, surnamed Kam, was trapped inside the taxi for about 40 minutes as the rear section of the taxi was crushed by the container.

Firemen had to clear the goods inside the container and remove the taxi's roof before freeing him from the wreckage.

The man suffered multiple injuries. He was conscious when taken to Princess Margaret Hospital, where he remained in serious condition.

The 40-year-old taxi driver, surnamed Chan, got out of his vehicle just in time, but had a neck injury.

'When I saw the truck coming towards me, I tried my best to turn the wheel to evade it,' he told police before being sent to Yan Chai Hospital.

'I felt I had evaded it, but then I heard a big bang and the container fell onto my vehicle.'

The taxk driver and the 49-year-old truck driver, surnamed Ling, were found to be under the drink-driving limit.

Police said they were checking whether the truck was overloaded or speeding.

'We will weigh the truck to determine if it was overloaded. For the speed of the vehicles, we have already called government laboratory experts to look at it on our behalf,' said Kiang Kwok-ming, of the New Territories South police.

Sources at the scene said the truck was carrying 37.7 tonnes of goods, a load that was 11 per cent over its permitted weight.

The taxi and the truck were towed to the vehicle-holding compound at Siu Ho Wan in North Lantau for further examination.

Tse Long, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Container Transportation Employees' General Union, said an overloaded truck would compromise the safety of the driver as well as other road users.

'If the truck is fully loaded, it is harder to manage its stability.'