Three people died and 56 people were injured when a taxi and two double-decker buses collided in Shau Kei Wan on Monday.
The crash happened at the junction of A Kung Ngam Road and Chai Wan Road at 11.38am, police said, as the New World First Bus approached Chai Wan Road driving downhill.
The bus first had minor collisions with two private cars, and then moved into the opposite lane to hit a taxi and a KMB travelling along the lane.
The three who died were all in the taxi - the driver and his two passengers, both of whom have been indentified as foreign nationals. One of the passengers was confirmed to be Swedish. The three were trapped inside the taxi for more than an hour before firemen were able to cut them free from the wreckage.
Fifty-six people on the buses, one from First Bus and another from KMB, were injured, including the two drivers. Most of the injured received treatment on the roadside at the scene, but others were sent to three nearby hospitals for treatment.
One person is in critical condition, five are in serious condition, and 15, stable. Thirty-five people were treated and discharged from hospital.
Local media quoted a First Bus passenger as saying the bus driver collapsed at the wheel and then the double-decker crashed into the taxi and ran off the road. The KMB bus, which was behind them, then crashed into the First bus.
“We heard a loud shout of ‘Aaah’ and then other passengers said the driver was not all right. Then, I saw the driver’s head had dropped down on his left side,” the female passenger said.
Fire Service station commander in North Point Derek Armstrong Chan said firemen took a long time to pull three people out of the taxi.
“The taxi was sandwiched by the buses after the collision, but the buses’ braking system were locked so they could not be towed away,” Chan said. “We had to lift the two buses upward and backward a bit to make space. And we had to pry open the taxi using saws to pull the three people out,” he said.
Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said on Monday afternoon the government had asked the bus companies to submit a report on the fatal accident.
He said the scene was not an accident black spot, but the Transport Department would study how to improve road safety at the location.
The New World First bus was a Route No 8 running between Heng Fa Cheun and Wai Chai Ferry Pier while the KMB was a Route No 118 running between Sham Shui Po and Siu Sai Wan.
Police said they would look into any mechanical failure, human negligence and breaches of traffic regulations to determine the cause of the accident.
TV footage showed how the First bus ended up on a pavement beside the damaged taxi.
The Transport Department closed the Chai Wan-bound lanes of Chai Wan Road after the accident.