‘Heroic’ bus driver hailed for saving lives of passengers

By Cheng Shu-ting and Lee Jun-ping  /  Staff reporters

Fri, Feb 18, 2011 - Page 2

A long-haul bus driver who had a heart attack while driving was eulogized on Wednesday for managing to save his passengers by pulling the bus to the side of the road before passing out. Unfortunately, Tsai Kun-lin (蔡坤霖) of Uni Bus did not survive after being rushed to hospital for medical treatment.

“He saved the lives of all 31 passengers on board the bus, but sadly he couldn’t save his own,” a police officer with the National Highway Police Bureau’s First Brigade said.

According to passenger accounts, Tsai passed out on Wednesday after steering his bus on to the shoulder of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway near the Taishan Toll station at 10:15am.

After trying to rouse Tsai to no avail, the passengers sought help from the bureau’s First Brigade, whose headquarters happened to be located nearby.

Police first tried to administer CPR on the scene before rushing Tsai to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Linkou (林口), New Taipei City (新北市), which was 10 minutes away.

The police were disappointed when the news reached them two hours later that Tsai did not survive.

A passenger said that if Tsai had not pulled the bus over, it would have crashed into the Toll Station.

“He stuck to the end until the bus was safely parked. He was truly heroic,” another passenger said.

According to Uni Bus Co, Tsai started working with the company in 2002, and had passed the health check-up with no sign of illness.

After his first shift driving from Greater Taichung to Taipei City on Wednesday, he had rested for an hour before leaving on what would be his final journey.

Before departing for his second shift, his blood pressure and pulse were normal, the company said.

Tsai’s younger brother said that although Tsai smoked, he wasn’t a drinker and he didn’t have cardiovascular disease.

The police have contacted the Banciao District Prosecutors’ office and forensic specialists for an official autopsy to ascertain the cause of Tsai’s death.