The bus must have blown apart on impact, spraying wreckage and human life across the rocky hill. Standing close to the wreckage of the ill-fated double-decker commuter bus 265M, it was hard to fathom the horror of what must have happened. No one sitting at the front of the vehicle stood a chance. They just could not have survived. The twisted metal carcass looked like the body of an animal that had been ripped apart by a pack of wild dogs. The front was totally gone. It was simply a large chunk of metal junk. You could not even see where the driver would have sat. The front of the bus, which took the bulk of the impact, had been smashed back to the inner staircase and the metal was wrapped everywhere like Christmas paper. All the seats, except for a few at the back on what was once the top deck, had been smashed out of place by the sheer force of the impact. The steep hillside was scattered with the discarded blood-stained white gloves of rescue workers. The orange hazard lights flashing on the side of the bus somehow conspired to add to the visual horror. A large tent had been set up to house the bodies, but there were just too many. Grief-stricken rescuers said they had had to store some of the bodies in ambulances. Other bodies still lay on the ground, covered with blankets. A temporary canvas morgue was surrounded by water that had been turned red from all the blood. The very earth around the tent was stained. But nothing stirred inside - a deathly stillness that stood in stark contrast to the hectic activity of the rescue effort outside. Workers bustled around the wreckage, mopping up the carnage for hours on end. Hundreds of police, firefighters and rescuers hurried between the command and control centre at the scene amid the whir of government and media helicopters flying overhead. A gaping hole in the crash barrier on Tuen Mun Road showed all too clearly where the bus had careered off the elevated highway. And a deep scar in the earth below provided graphic enough evidence of where it landed. A resident of the village near the crash site, Richard Bowsie, 27, a construction manager from Northern Ireland, told how he watched bodies being plucked from the wreckage. 'Some were alive, but they were struggling to keep them alive,' he said. One of the villagers, whose store room was smashed by the plunging bus, said: 'I was in bed. At first I thought the crash was a thunderstorm. I rushed outside to find the bus and at least five bodies that had been flung from the windows.' Confronted by the carnage, one fireman, a rescue worker at the site, said he was reminded of the horror he had witnessed when the Garley Building in Yau Ma Tei turned into a towering inferno in November 1996, killing 40 people and injuring 81.