Bus crashes into restaurant, injuring 7

2020-11-09 03:03     Comment:0

A public bus crashed into a restaurant in Taipa at about noon on Saturday, injuring seven people – four females and three males – aged between 33 and 88, the authorities said that day.

The injured comprised six passengers on the Transmac bus and an employee of the restaurant. The six passengers received outpatient hospital treatment while the seriously injured restaurant employee underwent emergency surgery shortly after the accident.

Various sources blamed mechanical failure for the accident.

The bus operator has suspended the operations of the other 14 buses that are of the same model produced in the same batch.

The six injured passengers – four females and two males aged between 36 and 88 – comprised four local residents, a Filipino and an Indonesian, the Fire Services Bureau (CB) said.

According to a statement by the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre on Saturday afternoon, six of the seven patients received outpatient for contusions, lacerations and other minor injuries.

A 33-year-old male underwent surgery for multiple lacerations, haemorrhages and broken ribs, the statement said, adding that the hospitalised patient was in a stable condition.

According to reports by the Public Security Police (PSP) and the Fire Services Bureau (CB), the No. 33 Macau-Taipa route bus carrying about 20 passengers crashed into the Chinese seafood restaurant, which is located in the Chun Fok Village residential estate in Rua do Regedor, at around midday just after leaving the bus stop outside the Taipa Luso-Chinese School.

The owner of the restaurant told reporters on Saturday there were no patrons inside when the accident happened, but a restaurant employee, a 33-year-old non-resident worker from the mainland, was trapped amid the debris caused by the crash. It took firefighters and police officers about 40 minutes to rescue the worker. He was rushed to the public hospital on the peninsula.

Wong Chi Wang, a senior officer of the PSP Traffic Department, and CB Acting Deputy Commissioner Kong Iat Fu briefed reporters about the accident at the scene.

21 years experience

According to Wong, the 58-year-old local bus driver has 21 years experience. He was not injured and passed a breathalyser test. The driver told the police that the bus suddenly suffered mechanical failure right before the accident happened, Wong said.

According to Kong, a total of 11 emergency vehicles and 60 firefighters were deployed to the scene. Kong said that as the bus had crashed into a shop, the Fire Services Bureau told the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) and the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) to send officials to the scene for follow-up action, adding that a number of doctors from the public hospital were also at the scene to give basic treatment to the trapped worker.

Kong underlined the difficulty the fire fighters faced during the rescue operation as they had to prevent possible damage to the restaurant’s structure while using heavy-duty tools to rescue the worker.

A Transmac tow truck removed the bus from the crash site at around 4 p.m. on Saturday after DSSOPT officials had concluded that the crash did not cause any damage to the building’s structure.

Good driving record

Transmac Deputy General Manager Kent Li Qijian told reporters at the accident scene that the driver had had a good driving record and passed a regular medical check-up in June. Li quoted the driver as saying that the bus suffered mechanical failure because of which it crashed into the restaurant. The bus has been in service since 2018 and passed a routine maintenance late last month, Li said.

Li said that his company had sent staff to visit the injured in the hospital and arranged for staff to provide the driver with counselling.

The Transport Bureau (DSAT) said in a statement on Saturday that the bus passed the bureau’s annual compulsory inspection in February this year. The statement also said that the public bus company has suspended the bus driver.

The statement said that Transmac carried out regular maintenance of the bus late last month when its braking system passed the test.

According to the statement, the driver, who had been working on the No. 33 route since January, started work at 6 a.m. on Saturday after finishing his shift at 3 p.m. on Friday.

The bus and the other 14 buses that are of the same model will undergo detailed examinations at the bureau’s vehicle inspection centre, the statement said. The bureau has ordered the bus operator to submit a report about the accident.

The owner of the restaurant told public broadcaster TDM yesterday that the worker was still undergoing treatment at the hospital. She said she did not know when the restaurant could reopen, adding that her business had been improving recently from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bus was produced by mainland bus manufacturer Higer, which is based in Suzhou in Jiangsu province. Many Transmac buses are from Higer. It is also one of the major brands used by local travel companies. Higer is reported to be the nation’s leading exporter of buses and coaches.

Macau has two public operators, the other one being TCM. 

Firefighters, police officers and public operator Transmac staff members work at the scene on Saturday where a bus crashed into a Chinese seafood restaurant in Taipa Village. Photo: Iong Tat Choi

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