Driven to grief

Top News | Riley Chan, Sum Lok Kei, Stella Wong 12 Feb 2018

Police investigating the worst bus accident in 15 years are looking into the possibility of charging the driver with manslaughter.

The KMB double-decker on route 872 fell on its side killing 19 passengers. It was carrying race-goers from Sha Tin when it landed on its side going downhill after rounding a corner.

The 30-year-old part-time driver, Chan Ho-ming, was still being detained last night for dangerous driving causing death and causing grievous bodily harm.

The wreckage of the damaged bus was removed from the scene yesterday morning.

Eighteen passengers died on the spot. One died at United Christian Hospital yesterday. The accident also injured 66 people. Among them, nine are in critical condition, 11 are serious and 18 are stable.

Twenty-eight had been allowed to leave at 5pm yesterday and some headed to the police station to help the investigations.

Police went back to the scene where, they suspect, the driver was speeding when he lost control of the bus near Tai Po. They are also looking into his mental state as well as mechanical issues with the vehicle.

About 200 family members of the 19 fatal victims, dressed in black, attended a roadside ceremony yesterday to pay tribute to their loved ones.

With the sounds of horns and bells, the families cried the names of the dead. They burnt imitation money in a metal container.

Then the families bowed towards the spirit tablets of the late passengers. The clothing of deceased were hung on a string behind the table. Many cried.

A dozen government officials and lawmakers including Matthew Cheung Kin-Chung, Lau Kong-wah, Frank Chan Fan, Eunice Yung Hoi-yan, Gary Chan Hak-lam and Holden Chow Ho-ding also attended the ceremony.

A family member surnamed Yip arrived at the accident site yesterday afternoon. His wife's elder brother was one of those killed. "The driver has a previous record of careless driving. KMB should carefully consider whether they should continue to employ such drivers," he said.

"Everyone would be angry if a family member was involved in the accident," Yip said. "Just one single turn, and you see how many families are broken."

An investigation panel headed by a judge will be set up, but Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor yesterday could not say when proceedings would begin.

Lam said an independent committee headed by a judge would conduct a thorough review of the operations and monitoring of franchised buses in Hong Kong and the accident to ensure safety of bus services in the city.

She will contact the judiciary today to request a judge to join the committee, but said it could take months before a report is available.

The police's New Territories North crime unit is handling the criminal investigation, she said.

Lam said both the Legislative Council's transport panel and the Tai Po District Council have called for special meetings to discuss the accident.

She said if the councils are able to arrange meetings before Lunar New Year, the government would cooperate fully and officials would attend the meetings.

Lo Kok-keung, a former lecturer at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's Department of Mechanical Engineering, said the bus was going at least 68 kilometers per hour judging by the skid marks left at the scene, which stretch more than 90 meters.

More reports: Pages 7&8; Editorial: Page 6

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