A man was killed and 11 other travellers, including an infant, injured when a taxi rammed into a group of tourists just after they survived a bus crash on the Western Corridor cross-border route yesterday.
The bus was heading to Huizhou in Guangdong with 22 passengers on board when the driver lost control. The coach mounted a footpath before smashing into a lamp post near the border checkpoint at about 4.15pm, said Chief Inspector Chan Sai-leung, of the New Territories North traffic accident investigation team.
No one was injured on the bus, which was left with a badly smashed windscreen. The driver called police for help but before officers arrived, passengers got off the vehicle, retrieved their luggage and started walking along the road towards the immigration tower 200 metres away to cross the border, Chan said. 'Some passengers were standing on the road. Then the taxi came and it may have also lost control, ' Chan said.
The taxi careered for another 10 metres before coming to a standstill, with its front badly damaged.
A man, 73, was thrown about 10 metres by the impact and he was confirmed dead at the scene by ambulance officers. Eleven others, including an infant, were injured.
The injured were sent to Tuen Mun, Princess Margaret, Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth hospitals.
Two men were in critical condition in Tuen Mun Hospital last night and five others in serious condition in other hospitals.
Police said they were still investigating why the bus driver allowed the passengers to get off the bus and walk in the middle of the road rather than on the footpath. 'Getting off the bus there is very dangerous. We are investigating why the driver would let them do this,' Chan said. Officers were trying to determine the time that elapsed between the crashes.
The taxi driver, 43, was arrested for dangerous driving causing death.
Last night, scores of police officers combed the scene for evidence. Security cameras in the area were also expected to provide useful information about the crash.
The two vehicles were later towed to a police inspection centre for examination and traffic was not affected.
The crash scene was geographically on the mainland but the corridor and half the checkpoint is administered by Hong Kong.
The crash was the most serious since the corridor and the checkpoint were opened on July 1, 2007 by President Hu Jintao to mark the tenth anniversary of the handover.
The border checkpoint was the first at which officials from both jurisdictions carry out checks under the same roof.
This avoids travellers having to clear customs and immigration twice in separate locations.