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Dozens dead as bus overturns in Hong Kong, driver arrested

Sheetal Sukhija - Sunday 11th February, 2018

HONG KONG, China - A double-decker bus in Hong Kong, overturned near the town of Tai Po, leaving 18 people dead and 60 others injured.

According to local officials, the bus overturned in the northern New Territories leaving passengers were trapped inside, many suffering grave injuries. 

Images of the incident that took place on Saturday evening were posted on social media and featured in local reports and showed rescuers trying to reach passengers trapped inside the bus, which lay on its side with part of its roof torn off.

Subsequently, the police arrested the driver of the bus, on charges of causing death and grievous bodily harm by dangerous driving.

Senior traffic superintendent Lee Chi-wai said in a press statement that the driver was suspected of being over the speed limit as he went down a slope and lost control of the vehicle.

The bus, officials later said appeared to have slid on its side and hit a lamppost which smashed into the upper decks of the vehicle.

According to the police, ten of the injured were in critical condition, while another 20 were seriously injured.

Addressing reporters, Chan Hing-yu of the fire department said that most of those that were killed and hurt were on the upper deck of the bus.

Later in the day, lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting of the Democratic Party urged the government to rethink the design of double-decker buses.

He said that the upper decks had "repeatedly been torn off in accidents, posing a serious threat to passengers on the upper level.”

Further, Cheuk-ting called on the government to address the issue of many drivers working long hours. 

Currently, guidelines that were put in place in 2010 limit drivers to 14 working hours a day and a maximum of 11 driving hours. 

The city is also facing calls from the drivers’ unions that has been calling for pay raises and a drop in the maximum driving hours.

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