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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Fast thinking called for with bus on brink

Fast thinking called for with bus on brink

Firemen used the speaker of a passenger's phone to comfort commuters waiting on the upper deck of the double-decker that crashed into a divider on Ching Cheung Road on Monday to be rescued, Lai Chi Kok fire station commander Leung Kin-ming said.
Leung was speaking as chartered mechanical engineer Lo Kok-keung said they acted correctly and that if a similar accident occurs, passengers should not try to exit by themselves, while those on the lower deck should move to the higher side to keep the bus stable.

Some 38 passengers on the Kowloon Motor Bus route 290A bus - from Tseung Kwan O to Tsuen Wan West - were injured in the crash.

As of yesterday, some eight passengers are still in hospital.

Leung said it took firefighters an hour and 17 minutes to get everyone out and that those on the upper deck helped.

He said firefighters parked one of their trucks alongside the bus to minimize injuries if the bus toppled over.

"Our colleagues got the number of a male passenger on the upper deck who had called the police. We rang him and asked him to turn on the speaker mode so we could tell all passengers to stay calm and remain in their seats," he said.

Some lower-deck passengers had exited by breaking the window with the emergency hammer on the bus. But Leung found that not really safe, and reminded passengers to remain seated in future until firefighters had stabilized the bus.

Lo, an instructor in traffic accident reconstruction training courses at Metropolitan University, said the angle of the bus' tilt was within the Transport Department's safety range.

"The bus was going too fast when turning and it deviated from the route, resulting in it crashing into the road divider. If the bus had tilted more than 28 degrees, it would have overturned and caused more injuries. Luckily, it did not," he said.

"Once the center of gravity of the tilted bus changes, the vehicle may overturn," he said.

"Passengers should stay calm until the firefighters can stabilize the vehicle."

The bus has been towed to the Kowloon Bay Vehicle Detention and Examination Centre for investigations.

The 54-year-old bus captain, Chung, was arrested for dangerous driving and released on bail Monday. He has to report to police in mid-April.

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