Monday, July 5, 2010

South Africa

By Natasha Prince
Staff Reporter

A MyCiTi bus driver was trapped in his bus for two hours this morning after a BMW smashed into it and sent it careering into a pillar.

Rescue workers used the Jaws-of-Life to free the driver from behind the wheel of his bus, where he had been trapped after smashing into the Wesbank House building on the corner of Riebeeck and Long streets at 5.35am.

Only the driver and a conductor were on board the bus. Both were injured.

The driver was freed at 7.30am and taken to a city hospital. Netcare 911's Lauren Copley said he had a compound leg fracture and it was suspected that he had fractured his foot. Copley described the 51-year-old driver's condition as "stable".
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The conductor was also taken to hospital but it was not immediately known what injuries he had.

Copley said it was still not clear what had caused the accident but early reports suggested that the driver of the BMW had been travelling "at high speed" along Riebeeck Street, skipped the red robot and hit the bus.

The bus had then swerved and crashed into a pillar outside Wesbank House, she said.

Ganief van Nelson, from Retreat, said he had been walking into his office at Triangle House - diagonally opposite Wesbank House - at 5.30am when he heard "a loud thump".

Van Nelson turned, saw a BMW spinning out of control and ran towards the scene.

He told the Cape Argus on Monday morning he had helped four people out of the wrecked BMW. They had looked "fine, but disorientated", he said.

One of the passengers, a man, fled the scene, and one of the women passengers also tried to run away, Van Nelson said, but somebody had chased her and brought her back, he said.

One of the women passengers was pregnant. She had suffered light head injuries. Another passenger had injured her right shoulder and wrist, and also suffered light head injuries. Copley said they had been taken to Somerset Hospital.

Officials from the city's fire and rescue services, a Metro Rescue ambulance, traffic officers and police gathered at the accident scene this morning, cordoning it off.

By 7.50am, the area had been reopened to traffic. A large tow truck arrived just after 8am to collect the bus.

Curious onlookers had gathered alongside the cordon, using their cellphones to take photographs of the mangled bus and BMW.

Glass shards littered the stairs of Wesbank House.

The City of Cape Town's Kylie Hatton said that the driver of the BMW had been taken into police custody in order to have his blood-alcohol level tested.

Cape Town's distinctive MYCiTi buses have been used as World Cup shuttles and will become part of the city's Integrated Rapid Transit system once the tournament is over.

The city ordered 43 of the buses - eight 18m-long articulated buses and 35 12m-long buses. They ferry visitors to and from the airport and around the central city, and also provided a free shuttle service for ticketholders on match days from the Hertzog Boulevard Bus Station to Cape Town Stadium. - Additional reporting by Murray Williams

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