Mon, Oct 12, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Four bus victims leave hospital

OUT COLD The bus driver was still unconscious when a prosecutor from Kaohsiung visited him in the hospital to ask questions about the events surrounding the accident

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Four people out of the 21 injured in Saturday’s deadly bus crash in Kaohsiung County checked out of hospital yesterday, while several others remained hospitalized.

Wang Sen-rong (王森榮), a prosecutor at the Kaohsiung district prosecutor’s office, yesterday visited the hospital to check on the 44-year-old driver of the bus, Hsu Cheng-kun (許正坤), as part of the investigation into the accident, but Hsu was still unconscious. Prosecutors said they would question the driver after he wakes up.

On Saturday, a tour bus traveling from Taipei to Pingtung careened off a bridge on Formosa Freeway. Of the 28 passengers and driver on the bus, seven were killed and 21 were injured.

Four injured passengers are still in intensive care at Edah Hospital, four left the hospital yesterday and 13 are hospitalized but in stable condition.

The bus, carrying 28 people including the driver, collided with a pick-up truck on Freeway No. 3 near Dashu Township (大樹) in Kaohsiung County, crashed into the retaining wall and fell off the bridge, dropping more than 10m to the slope below, police said.

The bus driver and his ­son, aged 12, were injured in the accident. Hsu broke his shoulder and sustained injuries to his face, while his son’s chest was crushed, a doctor said.

Five other people sustained major injuries, police said.

The driver of the pick-up truck that collided with the tour bus yesterday told police the accident happened at about 5:30am, adding that his headlights and taillights were on, so poor visibility was not likely the cause of the accident.

Chen Mei-chun (陳美純), a spokesperson for the tour bus ­company, said Hsu was unlikely to have been over-exhausted when the accident occurred, because Saturday was his first day working after two days off. Chen also said Hsu was familiar with the highway where the accident occurred.

The bus, which is registered in Taipei County, left the Taipei Bus Station at around midnight and traveled south, carrying mostly workers from a company and their friends to the ceremonial burning of the Donggang King Boat in Pingtung County.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA.

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