Driver dies in minibus collision

Local | Jane Cheung 4 Oct 2019

A female minibus driver died and 14 other people were injured when a red minibus crashed into a single-decker bus in Sheung Shui early yesterday.

Around 4.15am, the minibus running from Sheung Shui to Yuen Long veered into the lane near Kam Tsin Village and collided with a Kowloon Motor Bus single-decker traveling in the opposite direction.

The bus then rammed into the rear of a taxi parked on the roadside. Both the minibus and the bus were badly damaged, with the front of the minibus flattened by the impact.

The 56-year-old minibus driver, Kwok Lai-fan, collapsed at the scene and was trapped in the driver's seat. Firemen arrived to rescue her but she was certified dead by paramedics. Eleven male passengers, 20 to 63, on the minibus and the bus driver and two KMB employees on the bus sustained injuries.

They were sent to Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital in Tai Po and North District Hospital in Sheung Shui. By noon yesterday, one man was in serious condition, four were stable and the rest were allowed to leave after treatment.

Despite Kwok being fuller figured, it is unknown if the accident was caused by illness. Some 40 of Kwok's relatives held a roadside ceremony yesterday morning to pay tribute to her.

An uncle of Kwok's said she had worked for him as a minibus driver for four to five years.

He said her colleagues called her by the nickname "Fan the Fat Lady" and she worked the overnight shift from 2am to 9am three days a week, adding the accident happened on her second round trip.

Kwok is survived by a son, a daughter and two grandchildren. "She went traveling from time to time. She enjoyed a half-retired and leisure life," the uncle said.

"She is a nice person, with many friends," he said but refused to comment on her health condition. "I don't know much about her health. It's better to leave the cause of the crash to be probed by the police."

The special investigation team of traffic of the New Territories North Division will follow up with the case.

The KMB single-decker is an employee shuttle bus running between Yuen Long and Sheung Shui depots.

The driver of the shuttle bus, surnamed Yiu, said the minibus veered across the lane shortly before the crash. "I spun the wheels but failed to dodge it. It came so quick that I couldn't sound the horn," he said.

"I saw the minibus driving close to the double white lines. It seemed to me the driver had lost consciousness," he said.

A minibus passenger who sat on the second row said: "We crossed the lane and crashed into the bus. But we were not traveling at a high speed and luckily I had my seat belt on."

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