Five dead, 32 injured in Hong Kong coach crash

Police walk past a crushed taxi after a coach (back) collided with it in Hong Kong on November 30, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 30 November 2018
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Five dead, 32 injured in Hong Kong coach crash

  • A coach carrying Cathay Pacific staff to Hong Kong’s airport collided with a taxi
  • The taxi driver, two men and two women coach passengers were killed

HONG KONG: Five people were killed and 32 injured when a coach carrying Cathay Pacific staff to Hong Kong’s airport collided with a taxi on Friday, police said, with passengers thrown from the coach’s windows on impact.
The back half of the taxi was completely crushed and both sides of the bus were damaged with traces of blood on the outside following the crash on the island of Tsing Yi.
Police said the collision had happened in the left lane of the main road — the taxi had stopped with its hazard lights on and the coach plowed into it.
“We believe the taxi was broken down and stopped in the left lane of the road. Around 40 seconds later, a coach hit it from behind,” police superintendent Yip Siu-ming said.
The coach then lost control, Yip added, hitting the right hand side crash barrier and then the left one and throwing three passengers out of the coach. The 62-year-old driver was also hurled from the vehicle and injured.
The taxi driver, two men and two women coach passengers were killed, according to police.
Hong Kong’s hospital authority said one person remained in critical condition and another in serious condition.
The rest of the injured were either stable or had been released from hospital.
Debris including glass and personal belongings was strewn across the main road, which remained closed early Friday.
Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific confirmed “a shuttle bus carrying our employees was involved in a traffic accident this morning.”
“It is a tragic and very sad incident. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those who have sadly passed away,” the airline said.


Superintendent Yip said police would look into whether the coach driver — who had been working for 10 hours at the time of the accident — had been tired or affected by alcohol.
“From what we can see, it’s obvious that the driver did not see the broken-down taxi on the road and hit it from behind,” Yip said, adding that his working hours were from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 am.
The Kwoon Chung bus company told local media that the driver had been working for them for 12 years and had not declared any health problems.
Matthew Wong, chairman of the company, said the driver had had enough rest and had taken eight days off in November. He added: “Of course we’ll look into the cause of the accident,” in a telephone interview with TVB.
Tsing Yi is connected by a freeway to Hong Kong International Airport which is located on neighboring Lantau island.
Television footage showed the injured being treated by the side of the road before they were taken to four hospitals.
One coach passenger said the bus had been traveling fast before it crashed into the taxi, according to SCMP.
“It seemed to me that the coach did not slow down. I fell onto the floor (when it crashed),” the passenger said.
A passenger told local television channel TVB the scene on the bus was “very chaotic, we were crushed together.”
Another said “the bus hit once, then hit left and right, and hit the roadside to stop.”
Television footage showed the crash barrier on either side of the road was damaged.
The accident happened at 5:00 am (2100 GMT Thursday) near the exit of a tunnel.
Hong Kong prides itself on having one of the world’s best public transport systems but deadly bus accidents are not unknown.
A speeding double-decker overturned in northern Hong Kong in February, killing 19 people and leaving more than 60 injured. The bus driver was arrested for dangerous driving.
And in 2003 a double-decker bus collided with a truck and plummeted off a bridge, killing 21 people and injuring 20.


Australia warns citizens ahead of expected Jerusalem move

Updated 29 min 35 sec ago
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Australia warns citizens ahead of expected Jerusalem move

  • Australia will follow the US and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
  • Citizens were told to take care while traveling in neighboring Muslim-majority Indonesia

SYDNEY: Australia on Friday warned citizens to take care while traveling in neighboring Muslim-majority Indonesia, ahead of an expected but contentious move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to announce — as soon as Saturday — that his government will follow US President Donald Trump’s lead and recognize the contested city as Israel’s capital.
Scores of Australians preparing to jet off to Bali and other tropical island destinations for upcoming summer holidays should “exercise a high degree of caution,” the Department of Foreign Affairs warned.
Officials in Canberra told AFP they expected the announcement to come on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, but cautioned that events could yet alter those plans.
Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. Critics say declaring Jerusalem the capital of either inflames tensions and prejudges the outcome of final status peace talks.
Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv last May prompted tens of thousands of Palestinians to approach the heavily-protected Israeli border. At least 62 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire that day.
Morrison is expected to stop short of actually shifting Australia’s diplomatic corps to the Holy City, amid warnings from his own officials about the cost and security implications.
But recognizing Jerusalem would help the embattled Australian PM — who faces the prospect of an election drubbing next year — with Jewish and conservative Christian voters and win him friends in the White House.
His supporters argue Israel has the right to choose its own capital and peace talks are dead in the water, so there is no peace to prejudge.
But the move still risks heightening unrest, both in Australia’s immediate neighbor Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim nation — and further afield.
The Palestinian government would press for Arab and Muslim states to “withdraw their Ambassadors” and take some “meat and wheat” style “economic boycott measures” if the move went ahead, Palestinian ambassador to Australia Izzat Abdulhadi told AFP.
Indonesia’s government, facing domestic pressure at home, had reacted angrily earlier this year, when Morrison floated the idea of both recognizing Jerusalem and moving the Australian embassy there.
The issue has put the conclusion of a bilateral trade agreement on hold.
In the meantime, Australia’s foreign ministry has moved to prepare the ground.
“Demonstrations have been held in recent weeks around the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and the Australian Consulate-General in Surabaya,” it warned in a public notice Friday.
“Protests may continue at the Embassy in Jakarta or at any of Australia’s Consulates-General in Surabaya, Bali and Makassar,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said.”Exercise a high degree of caution.”
Tensions are currently running high between Israel and the Palestinians.
At least 235 Palestinians and two Israelis have died during violence in Gaza since March, mostly in border clashes.
On Thursday the Israeli army launched raids into the Palestinian city of Ramallah after a Palestinian shot dead two Israeli soldiers at a bus stop in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu vowed to ‘legalize’ thousands of settlements homes considered unlawfully-built even by Israel.
In total six people were killed in the most violent 24 hours to hit the West Bank and Jerusalem in months.