Driver, 23, in Hong Kong tram flip accident arrested after 13 passengers hurt

Driver, 23, in Hong Kong tram flip accident arrested after 13 passengers hurt

tram.jpg

The tram flipped over on Des Voeux Road Central near Bank Street.
Photo: Edmond So/SCMP

A 23-year-old Hong Kong tram driver has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving after the tram he was operating flipped over in Central on Thursday morning, injuring 13 passengers.

He was released on bail pending an investigation and must report back to police early next month.

Authorities suspect the driver, who had more than a year of experience, lost control of the vehicle.

The tram fell on its left side on Des Voeux Road Central near Bank Street, outside the HSBC headquarters at about midnight.


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Police confirmed the driver passed a breathalyser test and was not under the influence of alcohol at the time.

The location is not known to be a traffic accident black spot.

The westbound tram was heading towards Whitty Street Depot in Shek Tong Tsui.

Firemen were called to the scene at about 12.02am after receiving reports of multiple casualties.

Some passengers were able to climb out of the tram windows themselves, while others had to be rescued.

Eight men and five women, aged 24 to 64, suffered minor injuries and 11 of them were sent to Ruttonjee and Queen Mary hospitals for treatment.

The driver also suffered injuries to his arms and legs. Three passengers did not require hospital treatment.

“Police will conduct an investigation ... including looking into the speed of the vehicle at the time, the tram’s performance and other external factors,” Chiu Shung-hei, an officer from the Hong Kong Island traffic accident investigation team, said.

“This covers road design or whether there were objects in the tracks that could have interfered with the tram’s advance.”

He said witnesses did not report any collision with other vehicles.

Authorities removed the tram from the tracks several hours later and traffic resumed.

A spokesman for operator Hongkong Tramways said the accident was rare and that the case was under investigation.

An official statement from the company will be issued shortly.

In March last year, a Happy Valley-bound tram derailed in Central after passing the Old Bank of China Building off Chater Garden. No one was hurt.

According to Transport Department statistics, 38 out of 25,185 road traffic accidents in 2015 involved trams.

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