Firefighters had to help trapped passengers out of a double-decker bus after it smashed into a road divider in Mei Foo on Monday, leaving some 40 people injured, with the driver later arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.
The accident happened at around 9.40am, when the route 290A KMB bus hit the divider on the busy Ching Cheung Road near Nob Hill.
The vehicle ended up tilted precariously at an angle as its left side rode onto the divider, with the front windscreen damaged. Fire officers said they had to act fast to stop the vehicle from tumbling over.
Police said there were 77 people onboard the bus, and 47 of them needed hospital treatment. They mostly suffered minor injuries, with KMB saying the driver was in a conscious state.
Officers later arrested the driver on suspicion of dangerous driving, saying they would check on his driving attitude and mental state at the time, as well as the mechanics of the vehicle.
The commander of Lai Chi Kok Fire Station, Leung Kin-ming, said at a media briefing on Monday afternoon that his officers had to act quickly to stabilise the bus, which was at risk of flipping onto its side, before leading the passengers to safety.
"It's quite fortunate that the upper deck passengers stayed in their seats. If they rush out, it may affect the balance of the bus," added Chan Pak-ki, a police inspector from the Kowloon West traffic investigation and support unit.
"The main reason of them staying in the bus is that the entrance of the bus was seriously damaged."
A total of 120 firefighters and paramedics took part in the rescue, involving 33 ambulances and 15 fire engines.
Leung said it took them 11 minutes to arrive at the scene because it was a major trunk road, and the accident happened during the morning rush hour.
The department's service pledge is to arrive at the scene of any accident within 12 minutes.
Earlier, KMB said the driver had been working on this route for two years, and his last rest day was Saturday. The bus involved underwent a regular check-up last Thursday.
The company expressed sympathy to those injured, saying staff have been sent to hospital to check on them. It says it will fully cooperate with the police investigation.
One passenger said she hurt her nose and arm, but was able to leave the vehicle on her own. She said she planned to get a check-up at a private clinic.
She said the crash happened suddenly and she couldn't quite remember what exactly took place. The woman said some passengers were taken off the bus in stretchers while the faces of some of the others were covered in blood.
All lanes on Ching Cheong Road heading towards Tsuen Wan were closed, with transport officials saying the tail end of the traffic jam was at Lung Cheung Road near the Lung Cheung Road Lookout.
Motorists were being urged to consider using other routes on Monday morning. The roads reopened in the early afternoon, though some lanes remained closed and traffic jams continued.
Last updated: 2023-03-20 HKT 15:37