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Tourism

Two killed, 10 seriously injured in Hong Kong tour bus crash in Guangdong

Bus carrying 44 passengers is believed to have hit stationary vehicle on its way to Futian, Shenzhen

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 8:55am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 10:46pm

The day tour around Panyu, a city in Guangdong, had come to an end on Monday night and three dozen Hong Kong tourists were ready to go home. As their coach cruised down Guangzhou South Second Ring motorway towards Futian, tragedy struck.

“I was asleep in the front row at the time as we were heading back to Shenzhen. Then I heard a loud sound,” a passenger, who joined the tour with seven other friends in their 60s and 70s, recalled.

“My head suddenly hit the front seat and started bleeding.

“I saw the two people who were earlier sitting right behind the driver – one woman was lying in the aisle and another one was slumped in her seat. They were not moving.”

The coach was carrying 44 passengers – 43 of them confirmed as Hong Kong residents by the Immigration Department – when it slammed into a stationary vehicle on Qianhaichong Grand Bridge at about 7pm.

Two Hong Kong residents, a man and woman aged 60 and 61, were killed and 10 others injured in the crash near Guangzhou.

“I don’t remember the exact time. But [we waited] maybe half an hour or longer for the ambulance,” the injured passenger said.

Thirty-two passengers escaped with minor injuries and were able to make it back to Hong Kong on their own.

But out of 10 more passengers – nine of them Hongkongers – with more serious wounds, six were admitted to hospitals in Panyu and four in Nansha. They suffered various injuries ranging from organ dislocation to bone fractures. One woman had to receive surgery.

Six of the injured passengers were deemed fit enough to return to Hong Kong on Tuesday night. Another person was discharged, but chose not to return to Hong Kong yet. Two Hongkongers still require further medical treatment on the mainland.

Hong Kong’s economic and trade office in Guangdong said immigration staff had been sent to provide help to the injured and families of those killed.

“We are liaising with the family members and helping them with funeral arrangements and to get over this difficult phase,” the office’s chief immigration officer Tong Yick-chung said.

Zhong Yi, director of the Guangdong department of the recently reshuffled liaison office, visited the injured tourists, offering reassurance that Guangzhou and Hong Kong authorities would properly handle the case.

On Tuesday before the meeting of Hong Kong’s Executive Council, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also expressed her condolences to the victims’ families.

“The Hong Kong government and our colleagues in Guangzhou will do their utmost to help the residents affected,” Lam said.

The tour operator involved was Hong Kong-based Big Line Holiday.

On Tuesday, the company’s mainland China representative said: “A truck had stopped on the side of the road without turning on any hazard lights. The driver couldn’t brake in time and slammed into it. From what colleagues say, there was no speeding involved.”

He said relatives of the two dead passengers had already been contacted, and that the insurance company was following up on the case.

The company described it as “purely a traffic accident”, but it would look into improving certain areas of operations, including the selection of tour bus companies.

It said the company’s practice was to use only trusted firms.