Five killed as coach hits passengers
He Huifeng and Olga Wong
Three Hongkongers were among five people killed when a coach crashed into a crowd of passengers near the Lo Wu immigration control point yesterday.
Authorities suspect the driver caused the accident by stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake.
Survivors also blamed the infamous traffic chaos in the immediate area, a situation that has continued for years. Relatives of the dead complained that buses unloaded passengers on the roadside instead of taking them into the congested terminal.
The dead Hongkongers were a 65-year-old woman, Chan Choy-yuk. She had alighted from another bus and was waiting for her luggage when the coach hit the crowd. The second Hongkonger was a 60-year-old man, Tsang Chiu-king. The third victim was an unnamed 46-year-old man.
Chan's husband said they had spent the Christmas holidays in Shanwei, Guangdong, and were about to return across the border when the accident happened.
The coach was taking passengers from Chaozhou, Guangdong, to Lo Wu. Witnesses said it initially stopped by the roadside outside the terminal. But it suddenly accelerated and rammed into passengers who had just alighted from other vehicles. One was still trapped under the coach's wheel when the police arrived at the scene. As well as the dead, at least 10 others were injured.
Chan was dragged under the coach for a few metres before the vehicle stopped, said her husband, who was terrified and screamed at her.
He complained about the chaotic traffic arrangements, saying the authorities should not allow the loading and unloading of passengers at the same place. Mainland police officers did not offer help after the accident, he said.
The injured were sent to four hospitals, with some reportedly dying on the way. There are no official casualty figures yet, but the death toll is expected to rise.
The terminal where the accident happened is near Luohu Commercial City. It is a popular shopping mall for Hongkongers and tourists looking for cheap counterfeit products.
The Immigration Department was offering help to relatives of the dead through the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong. The office has already contacted the families.
Two people died last week, including a 38-year-old Hong Kong man, when a taxi ran into a group of passengers who had just stepped off a cross-border bus on the Hong Kong Shenzhen Western Corridor.