HONG KONG: Hong Kong police said they were investigating a deadly bus accident that left 19 people dead and scores more injured, with the bus driver arrested for dangerous driving.
The double-decker bus overturned on Saturday evening near the town of Tai Po in the northern New Territories, flipping onto its side and appearing to smash into a lamppost.
Nineteen people were killed and 65 people were injured, some critically, according to local police.
“The 30-year-old male bus driver was arrested for dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm. He is still being detained for further enquiries,” police said in a statement early yesterday.
Most of the injured and some of the dead were on the upper deck of the bus, Chan Hing-yu of the fire department told reporters.
The driver was suspected of being over the speed limit as he went down a slope and lost control of the vehicle, senior traffic superintendent Lee Chi-wai told reporters.
He was not in need of any medical treatment after the crash and was found to be sober, he added.
The accident has reignited a debate over working conditions for the city’s bus drivers.
The vehicle was managed by the Kowloon Motor Bus Company, one of the main bus operators in Hong Kong.
“Its management is at fault, and it did not attach importance to traffic safety nor to the staffing structure, work and rest, and training of drivers,” Lai Siu-chung, a representative of the motor transport workers union branch at the company, told reporters yesterday, according to local broadcaster TVB.
Lai said the company’s poor treatment of workers had led to labour shortages, adding that many drivers work under pressure and without adequate support.
The Kowloon Motor Bus Company said it would pay compensation to survivors and victims’ families, but has not specifically responded to these allegations.
City leader Carrie Lam, who visited survivors at the Prince of Wales Hospital late on Saturday, expressed “deep sorrow” and pledged there would be an independent investigation. — AFP