I tried braking, says SMRT bus driver

An SMRT bus service 700 was involved in an accident along Dairy Farm Road that resulted in one passenger dead and two others injured, including the bus's driver. (Yahoo! file photo)

UPDATED [On Tuesday, 23 July: adding information about driver, passengers]

The SMRT bus driver involved in the fatal accident on Dairy Farm Road that occurred on Sunday morning explained that he tried to brake multiple times before losing control of the bus.

Zhang Kun, 39, told various media that he stepped on the brakes to slow down while exiting the slip road to Dairy Farm of the Bukit Timah Expressway when the bus "suddenly went crazy" and it accelerated instead of slowing down.

He then reportedly lost control and the brakes failed despite repeated attempts to activate them, and the bus careened across four lanes before flipping onto its right and ending on the opposite side, facing oncoming traffic.

The accident resulted in the death of a 19-year-old pump attendant named Sasikumar, who was one of only two passengers on SMRT bus service 700A.

The teen was pronounced dead at the scene after being extricated by SCDF rescue officers while the other passenger, alongside Zhang, was rushed to the National University Hospital and was subsequently discharged on Tuesday, according to a Today report. Zhang remains warded while waiting for surgery for spinal injuries he sustained in the accident, added The Straits Times.

SMRT added in follow-up statements that Zhang has been driving since July 2012, and has a clean service record with no prior accidents or complaints against him.

"We can also confirm that he had been last at work on an 8.5 hour shift on 20 July, and was deployed at 7am today, having had more than the required 8-hour rest period between his shifts," they said.

The transport operator also said the bus in the accident was last maintained on 21 June and was given a clean bill of health, and that no brake or steering related problems were noted during the inspection.

An eyewitness who wanted to be known as Rachel told Yahoo! Singapore she was driving along Dairy Farm Road toward the PIE at about 11:10am when she saw four cars and two police vehicles parked on the side of the road.

She then saw the bus, which was lying on its right side, but facing oncoming traffic, adding that she also saw a blue tent near the front of the bus.

"It was on the wrong side of a two-way expressway turnoff, so it may have turned down the highway, overturned and skidded across the divider from his side of the road all the way to the bushes on the side I was on," she added.

In a post on its Facebook page, transport operator SMRT said Sunday morning it was making a full assessment of the situation is working closely with the SCDF and the police on their investigations.

"We are deeply saddened by the incident and extend our compassion to family members of the deceased, and will do all we can to assist the injured passengers and their families," the company said.

Police investigations into the accident are ongoing.

Additional reporting by Jeanette Tan