The driver of a coach that crashed into a taxi on Friday, killing five people and injuring 32, could have been exhausted or overworked, police said.
“The 62-year-old driver’s last rest day was November 27, and since then he has been working from 7pm until 7am; his working hours were quite long,” Superintendent Michael Yip Siu-ming of the New Territories South traffic division’s investigation and support unit said at a press briefing on Friday. “When the accident took place at 4.54am this morning, he had already worked for 10 hours. He could have been overworked or tired.”
The driver was identified as Fok Chi-sum, who had been driving coaches since 2007 and had worked the Tseung Kwan O-airport route “for quite some time”.
Video records showed the coach crashing into the taxi 40 seconds after the taxi stopped at the side of the road, Yip said. The coach hit the barrier on the right side of the highway. It crashed into a barrier on the left side of the highway. The bus driver was thrown out by the impact. He was rushed to hospital where he had surgery for his head injuries and was sent to the intensive care unit.
Three passengers, also thrown from the bus, were declared dead at the scene. Yip said it was likely that some coach passengers had not fastened their seat belts. Two people, including the taxi driver, were declared dead in hospital.
As of 3pm on Friday, a government spokeswoman said five of the injured – four men and a woman – remained in hospital, and 27 others had been discharged after treatment.
The driver had previously been suspended for careless driving following an accident earlier this year, his employer revealed. The previous incident took place on the Lantau Link in February, when Fok was driving to the airport.