Nineteen people have been killed in a double-decker bus crash in Tai Po, Hong Kong, on Saturday evening.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that 62 people had been injured – 59 men and 3 women. The youngest, a 16-year-old, is in a stable condition.
The injured were taken to 12 different hospitals, and a temporary morgue was set up at the scene.
KMB bus 872 rolled over during the incident on Tai Po Road, though the cause of the crash remains unclear.
The fire brigade responded at 6:15pm. Firefighters spent hours trying to extract those trapped inside the vehicle.
The bus was headed to Tai Po from Sha Tin Racecourse. Sixteen men and three women are among the dead, police told HKFP.
Images posted to social media showed serious damage to the bus as wounded passengers lay on the roadside. The vehicle damaged a bus stop and road signs.
The Urban Search and Rescue Team aided the rescue efforts as all lanes on the highway were closed to traffic.
The driver, aged 30, was arrested for dangerous driving causing injury and dangerous driving causing death, according to RTHK.
Carrie Lam was visiting the injured at the Prince of Wales Hospital, where many of the victims were taken: “Here I extend my deepest condolences to the families of those who were killed or injured, and hope that those who were injured in the accident will have a speedy recovery,” Lam said.
Democratic lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting called on the Legislative Council’s Panel on Transport to hold an emergency meeting to follow up on the matter.
He also called on the government to immediately follow up on, and regulate the working time limit for bus drivers – for example, by requiring regular health checkups to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers.
KMB has apologised on its Facebook page and changed its profile photo to a black logo: “KMB expresses extreme regret and sadness at this accident, and deeply apologises.”
Godwin So, the firm’s general manager of corporate planning and development, said the driver had been an employee since 2014, and had driven the route before. He had been scheduled to work for four hours on Saturday. So also said that the cause of the accident required investigation, including whether the driver was unfamiliar with the road or whether there were problems with his working hours. He added that the company will provide HK$80,000 to support affected families and assist with insurance claims.
Last September, three people were killed and 31 injured after a Citybus double-decker mounted a kerb in Sham Shui Po.
In 2003, 21 died and 20 were injured in the worst road traffic accident in Hong Kong history when a KMB double decker bus crashed through a guardrail and down a hill off Tuen Mun Road after colliding with a truck.
Police have set up a casualty hotline 1878 999 for the public to make enquiries about those injured.
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