Bus driver killed, 37 injured in Lantau crash

Van ploughed into truck, which was hit from behind by an airport bus full of passengers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 July, 2013, 2:23pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 July, 2013, 5:32am

A bus driver was killed and 37 people were injured, one critically, when three vehicles including a fully loaded double-decker crashed on the North Lantau Highway yesterday afternoon.

The light goods van, a truck and the bus, all heading towards the airport, collided at about 1pm near Siu Ho Wan. The van driver was arrested but released on bail without charge.

The injured were 34 bus passengers, the two other drivers, and a van passenger. Seven of them were in serious condition and 11 were stable last night. A 42-year-old woman remained in critical condition. They were being treated in four hospitals. Chan Hung-yiu, of New Territories South traffic police, said the van cut from the middle lane into the slow lane and ploughed into the truck, which was hit from behind by the bus.

The front section of the 12-metre Dennis Trident double-decker was ripped open in the crash. Its 47-year-old driver was thrown to the floor of the bus, with his legs trapped under the wreckage. Chan said there was a 40-metre skid mark on the road.

The Citybus vehicle was on route E22 from Lam Tin to AsiaWorld-Expo when it crashed.

Passengers said the bus was travelling at a normal speed.

"It crashed into [the truck] one or two seconds after it braked," said one passenger. "I was then thrown from the bus."

Another passenger, a flight attendant with Cathay Pacific for 13 years who was sitting in the front row on the upper deck, said they were hit by a shower of glass as the bus windscreen shattered.

She ignored minor cuts to her face and attended to a woman with similar injuries sitting next to her. She also helped other passengers to leave the wreck. She said she saw the driver lying on the floor but did not try to move him, and called an ambulance.

Citybus said the driver, who had worked on the same route for many years, had joined the company in April 1997. The company said it would offer assistance to his family.

He is survived by a wife, a son and a daughter. His family said his wife had suffered from a skin complaint that had created financial difficulties. They said they would also have difficulty paying for the funeral.

The accident caused congestion on the highway, and police opened the parallel Cheung Tung Road service route to ease the problem.