Tower Bridge bus crash kills one, injures 18

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A young female pedestrian has been killed after a double decker bus struck a tree seconds before it was due to cross London's Tower Bridge.

A total of 18 passengers on the bus were injured, including four seriously, in the accident which left the bus badly damaged.

Police were investigating the exact circumstances that led to the pedestrian's death but it is understood that she was struck by a falling branch of the tree.

Witnesses reported seeing the tree appear to fall, striking the woman who was described as in her late teens or early 20s.

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The driver of the number 188 bus fainted following the incident


The driver of the number 188 bus fainted following the incident and had to be brought round by a passer-by.

Nine of the injured passengers were taken to hospital by ambulance while the remainder were treated for minor injuries at the scene. None of the injuries are thought to be life-threatening.

Tom Riley, 32, from Tottenham, saw the fatal casualty when he arrived at the scene just before 9.30am.

"I heard a big crack," he said. "I saw the girl lying on her back, she only looked about 19 or 20. She looked a beautiful girl. She was beside the tree trunk with blood coming out of her mouth.

"She looked ashen faced. It was as if the tree had just fallen and was following the bus down and he (the driver) was trying to stop.

"He couldn't get out of the door at first."

Police said they were in the process of contacting the next of kin of the young pedestrian, who has yet to be identified. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Charles Fayinka, 28, was at work in a nearby office when he heard the collision.

"I heard a loud bang and immediately ran outside to see what the problem was. I saw people rushing off from the bus. The bus driver was very distressed and he fainted at the scene. I'm not 100 per cent sure if a piece of tree came off, which might have killed the person."

Scotland Yard said investigating officers were still piecing together the sequence of events that led to the accident on a tree-lined section of Tower Bridge Road near the Tanner Street junction on the 188 bus route.

The scene was cordoned off for several hours as paramedics, ambulances, police and the fire brigade attended the injured. The upper windscreen of the bus was smashed and the upper deck was severely dented.

Salah Arif, 32, was driving his Nissan Primera when he saw the bus get into trouble.

"I saw the bus driver and the bus, which had lost control. It was swerving around on the main road and I could see the passengers panic.

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The bus was travelling from North Greenwich station to Russell Square


"I don't blame him (the driver). I feel sorry for him. He was trying to keep the bus under control.

"You could see the fear in his eyes. He was trying to control the bus, but it kept swerving all over the road.

"All the glass on the front of the bus was smashed. As soon as he stopped the bus everyone panicked.

"I got out of my car and went towards the bus driver, because I thought maybe the passengers were going to turn on him.

"He was panicking, shaking. He didn't know what to do. He fainted on the floor and put some water in his face. He wanted to go inside the bus to see what had happened but I told him not to go."

The driver of the bus was questioned but not arrested.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We are currently trying to establish the circumstances surrounding the collision."





By Tom Peterkin and John Bingham
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1995269/Tower-Hill--bus-crash-kills-one,-injures-18.html
 
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