Driver killed, 16 passengers injured after green minibus flips onto side on HK motorway

15-Jan-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A green minibus driver was killed and 16 passengers injured after the vehicle flipped onto its side on a motorway in Hong Kong’s New Territories on Monday morning.

The accident happened along a section of Shing Mun Tunnel Road.

“At about 8.30am this morning, a public light bus travelling in the direction of Sha Tin-Tai Po is suspected to have spun out of control and flipped over onto its right,” said Wu Shing-tai of New Territories South traffic police accident investigation team.

“Police will be investigating the case by examining the driver’s condition, mechanics and vehicle speed.”

The driver, 67, died in Yan Chai Hospital at 10.07am. He had been driving the route for about two years and was on his third leg of the day, Wu said.

The 16 passengers, aged 18 to 58, were set to Yan Chai, Princess Margaret and Prince of Wales hospitals with light injuries.

The green minibus was on route No 403, which runs between Shek Lei Estate and Sha Tin Wai.

No other vehicles were hit in the accident.

Initial investigation showed the left-hand wheels of the minibus mounted the kerb and ran for about 80 metres before the vehicle slammed into the concrete base of the gantry, toppled on to the right side, and came to a stop, according to a police source.

The source believed the minibus was travelling within the speed limit of 80km/h at the time of the incident.

Firefighters and about 10 ambulances were deployed to the scene.

All Sha Tin-bound lanes of Shing Mun Tunnel Road, near Mei Chung Court, remained closed to traffic as of 9.50am, according to the Transport Department.

The minibus passed a regular vehicle examination last week and no tyre marks were found at the scene suggesting the driver might not have attempted to brake, and there were no indications to show the vehicle had attempted to veer and return to the motorway.

“It is possible the driver passed out at the wheel at the time of the incident,” the source said.

The Post learned that the 67-year-old driver had cholesterol and high blood pressure and he also suffered flu several days ago.

A bottle of cough medicine was among the driver’s belongings found inside the vehicle.

The source said an autopsy would be carried out to establish the cause of the driver’s death and check whether he had taken the cough medicine, but cautioned that the medicine might also have been left over from an earlier date.

According to police, the site of the accident was not a traffic black spot.

The fatal crash was the fourth road fatality in the city this month. The other three accidents happened in Tsuen Wan on January 10, Wong Tai Sin on January 5 and Tai Po on January 2.

Police figures showed 118 people died in 99 road accidents in the first 11 months of 2018, including the Tai Po bus crash in February, which killed 19 and injured more than 60. In the whole of 2017, 108 people died in 104 traffic accidents.


Category: Hong Kong

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