At least 18 killed, 62 injured after bus overturns in Hong Kong

Updated 2018-02-11 08:46:05 Xinhua

Rescuers work at the accident site where a double-decker bus overturned in New Territories in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, south China, Feb. 10, 2018. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

At least 18 people were killed and 62 injured on Saturday after a double-decker bus overturned in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

Authorities said 10 of the injured were in critical condition and 15 were seriously wounded.

Police said the 30-year-old driver was arrested.

Most of the injured and bodies of the deceased were found on the upper deck of the bus, and the deceased mostly died of trauma to the head, rescuers said.

The accident happened at around 6:15 p.m. local time (1015 GMT), when a bus on its way to Tai Po from Shatin racecourse toppled to its left on Tai Po Road, New Territories, destroying a bus station on roadside.

Police told Xinhua earlier that 19 people were killed but the death toll was later revised down to 18.

Most of the passengers were horse racing fans, as the bus was travelling on a special route for horse racing days.

The bus had been running on high speed before the accident, according to some of the passengers.

Rescuers cut open the top of the bus to save the passengers trapped inside.

The injured have been rushed to hospitals, while the site of the accident has been cordoned off.

Godwin So Wai-kei, general manager of Kowloon Motor Bus Company Limited which the bus belonged to, said the company will offer 80,000 HK dollars (10,256 U.S. dollars) as a condolence allowance for the families of each victim.

The driver of the bus joined the company in 2014. So far there is no sign of fatigue driving when the accident occurred, said the general manager.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the injured in the Prince of Wales Hospital, HKSAR Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she will order an independent inquiry to see whether there are any systemic problems with Hong Kong's bus operations.

She said the commission will be headed by a judge and she expected it to come up with suggestions to ensure Hong Kong's public transport system is reliable and safe.

Lam said the government is "deeply grieved" by the accident.

Various hospitals have set up emergency support stations to help families of the deceased and each affected family will receive support from social workers, she said.

Various charity groups have announced to offer emergent financial help to the victims' families.

The accident was the deadliest one in Hong Kong since 2003, when 21 people were killed after a double-decker bus plunged off a flyover following a collision with a container truck.

In September last year, three people were killed when a double-decker bus mounted a pavement in Sham Shui Po.

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