image

Accidents and personal safety in Hong Kong

School bus crash victim recalls seeing 89-year-old boss and his crushed wheelchair trapped under vehicle after accident that killed 4 in Hong Kong

  • Domestic worker and employer were on shopping trip when accident happened
  • Filipino helper was knocked down in panic to avoid out-of-control vehicle and only suffered minor injuries
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 7:57pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 10:53pm

Marjorie Nim Salvador could not stop crying on Tuesday as she described the moment she saw her 89-year-old employer, and his crushed wheelchair, trapped underneath a runaway school bus.

The Filipino domestic worker said she had been knocked down in the panic to avoid the out-of-control vehicle on Monday, and the first thing she saw after looking up was her boss, Willy Yip, lying injured.

Speaking from her hospital bed at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan, the 43-year-old described how their shopping trip along Hei Wo Street, near their home in North Point, turned into a nightmare that killed four people.

Salvador and Yip were among the 11 people injured, while Yip is one of the three victims still in a critical condition.

While Salvador, who suffered minor injuries to her back and shoulders was discharged on Tuesday afternoon, seven others remain in stable conditions in the city’s hospitals.

Yip, and two other victims, were trapped under the unmanned school bus that rolled 100 metres down Cheung Hong Street at around 2pm on Monday. Authorities are investigating whether the bus’s handbrake had been properly applied.

Salvador said she was pushing Yip along Hei Wo Street when she suddenly heard people screaming, and was knocked to the ground.

“I was hit by someone from behind my back, and I fell hard onto the ground,” she said. “Everything happened so fast, I didn’t know what’s going on and I was terrified.”

Seven children among nine injured in school bus accident – second in 24 hours

The domestic worker said she saw people sprawled on the ground, and a man and a woman were on the floor either side of her.

“The minute I looked for Mr Yip, I saw his wheelchair got crushed underneath the bus, and he was being trapped underneath it,” Salvador said.

She said her boss was in the intensive care unit of the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital after having a surgery on his injured arms.

“It is my first job here, today actually marked the fourth month I am in Hong Kong,” she said. “I’m worried about my boss, and my job.”

Another victim, Velasco Silvestre, a 50-year-old driver from the Philippines, said his elbow was injured when the open door of the bus hit him as it careered down the hill.

He was coming out of a restaurant on Cheung Hong Street when he heard people screaming, and saw the bus veering onto the pavement.

Five ways Hong Kong can improve road safety

“I saw it coming and I wanted to avoid it, but its open door hit my arm. The bus kept rolling down the hill and hitting people along the way,” he said.

Silvestre was sent to Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai by his boss after the accident, and was transferred to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital where doctors bandaged him up.

Silvestre was in North Point to drive his boss’s son to school, and he said he had not noticed anything dangerous in the neighbourhood before.

“That’s the thing with an accident, nobody expects it to happen,” he said.