Hong Kong arrests bus driver after several killed in crash | News | DW | 11.02.2018
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Hong Kong arrests bus driver after several killed in crash

A Hong Kong bus driver is facing a likely manslaughter charge after his vehicle crashed, killing 19 people. Witnesses say the bus, packed with standing passengers, flipped on its side and skidded for several meters.

Hong Kong police said Sunday they had arrested a bus driver after he lost control of his packed double-decker vehicle.

Nineteen people were killed and 65 others injured in the tragedy on Saturday evening near the town of Tai Po in the northern New Territories, according to police.

"The 30-year-old male bus driver was arrested for dangerous driving, causing death, and dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm. He is still being detained for further enquiries," police said in a statement early on Sunday.

The South China Morning Post said the driver was likely to face manslaughter charges over the crash, which occurred near the Sha Tin Racecourse.

'Bus stop destroyed'

Local media cited passengers who said the bus hit several lampposts and leveled a bus stop as it skidded some 37 meters (roughly 120 feet) before coming to a halt.

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Passengers told South China Morning Post that the driver was speeding after he was reprimanded for arriving late at the bus stop. 

One injured passenger told the Oriental Daily News, it was like the driver was "intentionally using the bus to throw a tantrum."

A policeman stands beside a crashed bus in Hong Kong

The South China Morning Post reported that 33 people were hospitalized, and that 11 people remain in critical condition

Others described a scene of pandemonium after the crash and attempts to pull people out through emergency exits. 

Most of the injured and some of the dead were on the upper deck of the bus, Chan Hing-yu of the fire department told reporters.

Photos and videos published by local media or posted on social media showed the bus lying on its side while emergency workers treated injured passengers.

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Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, who visited survivors in hospital, expressed "deep sorrow" and promised to launch an independent investigation.

Compensation promised

The company which runs the bus service said it would pay a condolence allowance of HK$80,000 ($10,000, €8,160) to survivors and victims' families, and admitted that the driver had been involved in a previous careless driving incident four years ago.

The South China Morning Post said it was the Asian financial center's deadliest traffic accident since a 2003 bus crash killed 21 people.

Eighteen people were killed in another bus crash in 2008.

mm/jlw (AFP, AP, dpa)

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