Nearly 40 passengers were injured on Sunday after five buses slammed into each other, creating a lengthy pile-up on a major Hong Kong bridge.
The collision on Tsing Ma Bridge came as the buses were driving toward Hong Kong International Airport at about 4pm. Officials said 27 people were lightly injured and 12 suffered serious injuries. There were 23 injured women and 16 men.
Photos and live feeds from the scene showed dozens of injured passengers sitting on the road, some with blood on their faces.
The injured were sent to Princess Margaret Hospital, North Lantau Hospital and Yan Chai Hospital for treatment. As of 9pm, eight people have been discharged from the hospitals while 31 others remained in stable condition, the government said.
The collision involved two buses at the front of the accident – the A10 and A11 from Citybus travelling from Ap Lei Chau and North Point to the airport.
The A10 was travelling along the bridge when it began to slow down and came to a stop because of traffic shortly before it was hit, said a spokesman with the bus operator.
“Then the bus behind it, A11 also came to a halt but was smashed into by another bus, and the driver called the police,” said the spokesman.
No passenger on either of the two buses was hurt, but the driver of A11 suffered minor injuries.
Citybus said the two drivers started their shifts at around 6am and were on their fifth and sixth trips of the day.
“The drivers hours and rest times were within the Transport Department’s guidelines,” the spokesman said.
The other buses involved were two from Long Win Bus Company and a Park Island Transport Company bus. The two Long Win Bus buses, the third and forth buses, were caught in the middle of the crash. Long Win said at least 20 people on the two vehicles were injured, including the drivers.
“It’s believed that all the victims were slightly hurt,” a company’s spokesman said.
The pile-up forced two of the three lanes on Tsing Ma Bridge near Ma Wan to be closed, leading to a traffic jam along the main road leading to the airport. A long queue of halted vehicles stretched from close to Ma Wan to Wok Tai Wan.
The lower deck of Tsing Ma Bridge was opened to ease congestion in the area.
The cause of the accident remains unknown.
A bus passenger told reporters at the scene that he recalled the driver stopping and the bus behind them ramming the bus he was on.
A passenger in the last bus said he saw that the buses in front had stopped, but the bus he was on could not stop in time and rammed the ones in front.
Cathay Pacific urged travellers to use other transport besides buses to reach the airport because of the accident, according to a post on Twitter. Cathay said Airport Express trains were operating normally.
In November, a coach and a taxi had a fatal collision at the North West Tsing Yi Interchange, a highway leading to Tsing Ma Bridge. Five people were killed and injured 32.
The passengers were employees from five companies providing services at Hong Kong International Airport, including Cathay Pacific Group, according to police.
Meanwhile, a 62-year-old woman died after being hit by a tour bus in To Kwa Wan. The victim, surnamed Yik, sustained multiple injuries after being trapped under the coach on Sunday afternoon. She was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in an unconscious state and was certified dead shortly afterwards.
The police said the coach was travelling southbound on Kowloon City Road when it knocked down the woman, who was crossing at Sze Chuen Street.
The 46-year-old driver of the bus was arrested for dangerous driving causing death and has been detained for further questioning.
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