3 in­jured as bus hits shop

Man and two chil­dren struck on pedes­trian cross­ing

The Northern Advocate - - Nation -

Aman and two chil­dren were in­jured on a pedes­trian cross­ing by a bus that then hur­tled into the front of a com­puter store in Birken­head on Auck­land’s North Shore yes­ter­day.

The man was the worst hurt, with shocked wit­nesses grab­bing blan­kets from a nearby pet store to com­fort him as he lay in the mid­dle of the road.

A wit­ness said the AT bus — which had pas­sen­gers on board — crashed into Unitec’s Free4U com­puter train­ing fa­cil­ity in Birken­head Ave, next door to the Tongue and Groove Cafe. Three stu­dents were in the fa­cil­ity at the time but were un­hurt.

“It came across the side of the road, through a bar­rier and into the build­ing. I am in shock. It is mas­sive.”

Al­ls­tar ap­pren­tice plumber Isaac, who was trav­el­ling in his van the op­po­site di­rec­tion to the bus, said he had stopped for two adults and two kids aged un­der 10 at the pedes­trian cross­ing.

“I saw the whole thing. [The bus] pulled straight from the bus stop [through the cross­ing]. I’m not sure if they hit the ac­cel­er­a­tor in­stead of the brake,” Isaac said.

“It came out of nowhere. I was lucky not to get hit. If I had been 2 me­tres ahead I would’ve been hit di­rectly on the driver’s side.”

There were quite a few pas­sen­gers on the bus, he said.

“They all got out of the bus real quick.” Af­ter the bus hit the shop he saw one of the peo­ple on the pedes­trian cross­ing — a woman — cry­ing.

A child ly­ing on the ground was scream­ing, and was picked up and be­ing com­forted.

“They didn’t want to move the fella, the man,” wit­ness Isaac said.

The man was aged about 40 and was con­scious and talk­ing, he said.

He be­lieved the bus driver was a woman, who had re­mained at the scene talk­ing to po­lice of­fi­cers.

The bus was towed out of the store by a heavy sal­vage truck at 1.40pm.

Unitec’s Free4U Com­put­ing fa­cil­ity of­fers free com­mu­nity cour­ses.

A Unitec spokesman said a class with three stu­dents was un­der way at the time of the crash. No one in­side was hurt.

Nic­sons pet shop owner Su­san Huang said three peo­ple — a man and two chil­dren — were in­jured, with the man still be­ing at­tended to on the cross­ing.

“There was a loud noise, and then lots of scream­ing . . . and peo­ple were run­ning into the cafes and shops. We gave them some of the pet blan­kets to keep the man warm.”

The man was be­ing treated in the mid­dle of the road, with blan­kets cov­er­ing him. He was con­scious, with his eyes open.

“The chil­dren are scream­ing and cry­ing and they are be­ing taken to the am­bu­lance.”

A woman who was with the trio was not in­jured.

“I have heard from peo­ple who are say­ing the driver may have pushed the ac­cel­er­a­tor rather than the brake . . . I’m not re­ally sure.

“My hus­band said the bus was go­ing very fast,” Huang said.

The bus had swerved to the right, cross­ing the cen­tre line and smash­ing into the glass front of the com­puter store.

PHOTO / GREG BOWKER

The bus crashed through the store’s front win­dow.

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