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At least 6 killed, 40 injured after Hong Kong bus crash

At least 6 killed, 40 injured after Hong Kong bus crash

Police officers in the top deck of the bus after it crashed into a tree along a Hong Kong highway on Dec 18, 2019. (Photo: Hong Kong Police Force)

HONG KONG: At least six people were killed and 40 people injured after a double-decker bus crashed into a tree on a Hong Kong highway on Wednesday (Dec 18), authorities said.

Live footage showed firefighters trying to reach victims on the top deck of the KMB bus, which had been turned into a tangled mess of twisted metal and shattered glass, leaving some passenger seats dangling off the side.

Victims were seen being removed in a black body bags and placed next to a sign reading "Temporary Mortuary" at the roadside on Fanling Highway near Kwu Tung, a region close to the border with China.

At least six people were killed and 40 people injured after a double-decker bus crashed into a tree on a Hong Kong highway on Dec 18, 2019. (Photo: Twitter/ Hong Kong Police Force)

Police said six people were certified dead at the scene - three men and three women.

The city's Hospital Authority said 40 people had been injured and that it had activated its "major incident" plan in response to the crash.

News outlet RTHK said the top deck of the KMB bus was "sliced open".

Rescue workers at the scene of a bus crash along Hong Kong highway on Dec 18, 2019. (Photo: Hong Kong Police Force)

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed her condolences to the families of those who died as well as to the injured and their families.

The Hong Kong leader is shocked and saddened by the incident, said an official statement. She has told the authorities to provide assistance to those injured as well as family members of the victims.

The Transport Department expressed "deep concern" about the crash and said it was "deeply sorry" for the incident, extending condolences to victims and their families.

"The Transport Department has immediately contacted the Kowloon Motor Bus Company to understand the accident and has requested the bus company to submit an investigation report as soon as possible and follow up," it said. 

Police will conduct an investigation and detain the bus for a "detailed vehicle examination", the department added.

At least six people were killed and 40 people injured after a double-decker bus crashed into a tree on a Hong Kong highway on Dec 18, 2019. (Photo: Twitter/ Hong Kong Police Force)
Firefighters at the scene of a crash after a bus smashed into a tree along a Hong Kong highway on Dec 18, 2019. (Photo: Hong Kong Police Force)

One survivor dressed with a bandage around his head and right arm told local broadcaster TVB he was asleep when the crash happened.

"When I woke up I was already trapped in my seat," the man said.

Several roads leading to and away from the accident site are closed.

"Due to traffic accident, part of the lanes of Fanling Highway Sheung Shui bound near Tsung Pak Long is closed to all traffic. Only remaining lane is still available to motorists," Hong Kong police wrote on Twitter. 

"Traffic is congested now and please stay tuned to the latest information (from) police."

At least six people were killed and 40 people injured after a double-decker bus crashed into a tree on a Hong Kong highway on Dec 18, 2019. (Photo: Twitter/ Hong Kong Police Force)
At least six people were killed and 40 people injured after a double-decker bus crashed into a tree on a Hong Kong highway on Dec 18, 2019. (Photo: Twitter/ Hong Kong Police Force)

In an update an hour later, police said that investigations are underway.

"The police express deep condolences to the family members of the victims who lost their lives or sustained injuries in this accident," the force said in a tweet.

A police officer stands in front of a double-decker bus after a crash in Kwu Tung in Hong Kong on Dec 18, 2019. (Photo: AFP / Philip Fong)
A police officer stands inside a double-decker bus after a crash in Kwu Tung in Hong Kong on Dec 18, 2019. (Photo: AFP / Philip Fong)

Hong Kong prides itself on having one of the world's best public transport systems but deadly bus accidents are not unknown.

The densely packed city has many winding, narrow and often steep roads. But unions say driver fatigue from working unforgiving hours is also commonplace.

In February last year, a bus driver was arrested for dangerous driving after 19 people were killed and more than 60 injured after a double-decker bus overturned. 

Part of its roof was torn off after the bus flipped near the town of Tai Po in the northern New Territories.

In March, a double-decker Citybus crashed into a stationary struck on West Kowloon Highway in Yau Ma Tei, leaving 15 passengers injured. Both drivers were killed. 

Source: CNA/agencies/aa

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