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Traffic and road safety in Hong Kong

Double-decker bus stopped just 90cm away from 11-year-old boy: Hong Kong family recount lucky escape from Sham Shui Po crash

Bus stopped less than a metre away from family of three, hitting a number of other pedestrians

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 September, 2017, 11:12pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 September, 2017, 8:43pm

Eleven-year-old Kwok Kai-yin was waiting to cross the road with his parents on Friday night when he heard the roaring engine of a bus and saw the double-decker “flying” towards him before it stopped just 90 centimetres away from him seconds later.

The family of three were among the 30 people injured in the deadly bus crash in Sham Shui Po at around 6.30pm on Friday, when the double-decker slammed into the pavement railing, a road sign and an overhanging building canopy at the junction of Yen Chow Street and Cheung Sha Wan Road, killing three others.

“I saw the bus flying into my face and I immediately stepped back,” the boy said, adding the bus stopped less than a metre away from him.

“I was shocked but I was not afraid,” said the boy, who had cuts and bruises on his right arm and both legs.

Speaking from Kwong Wah Hospital where they were admitted, his father, Kwok Yuen-fai, 56, recalled the bus came towards them so fast that he did not even have time to grab his son standing in front of him.

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He said they and other pedestrians fell to the ground like dominoes, and they were showered with shattered glass.

“The broken glass was like sand and went into my hair, my clothes and even my leather shoes,” said Kwok as he showed bandaged scratches on his right elbow.

He said a number of people standing less than a metre to his left were hit directly by the bus, which was later found to have trapped four pedestrians underneath, while four passengers were stuck on the upper deck, which had the roof partly ripped open.

“If the bus [had been] a little bit earlier, more than four – maybe 10 – would have been trapped [under the bus],” said Kwok, likening the pedestrians to pins and the bus to a bowling ball.

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Police said the route E21A double-decker, operated by Citybus on its way to Ho Man Tin from Tung Chung on Lantau Island had been trying to avoid hitting a taxi which suddenly slowed down in front of it. Kwok, a professional taxi driver, had a similar observation.

Kwok said the bus was at a distance of its own length to the traffic light when he heard the loud noise its engine.

“It seems to me that both the taxi and the bus were hesitating whether to catch the last of the green light and drive through.

“The taxi in the middle lane decided not to rush and slowed down with short notice. The bus in the left lane swerved to the left to avoid swinging into the taxi, which was trying to halt,” said Kwok.

It didn’t seem to me that the bus was braking, but speeding up
Kwok Yuen-fai, injured in crash

“It didn’t seem to me that the bus was braking, but speeding up,” said Kwok. “And I saw no brake marks on the road.”

Kwok’s 35-year-old wife, who was standing behind him and her son when the accident happened, hit her head and lower back on some concrete stairs as she fell backwards onto the entrance of a roadside shop.

“She has been feeling pain in her chest and we are waiting for the result of her brain scan,” her husband said.

The Kwoks were on their way to a wedding banquet with two of their friends when the accident happened.

One of the two friends was hurt more seriously – having at least three stitches on her face and cuts on both legs – and had to stay in the intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a second night on Saturday.

The elder Kwok said his friend wasn’t paying attention to the road conditions because she was playing Pokemon Go on her phone.

“I told my son to learn a lesson and never play with phones on the road,” said Kwok.