Family's SEA Games outing ends in hospital

Family's SEA Games outing ends in hospital
Three-bus collision at Changi Road

He was not working that day at the coffee shop and it was the June school holidays.

So yesterday, Mr Soh decided to take his wife and young daughter to watch the SEA Games.

But instead of making it to the Sports Hub, where the main events of the Games are held, the family ended up in hospital, after the double-decker SBS bus they were in slammed into the back of another bus.

Witnesses said the middle bus involved, an SMRT bendy bus, was thrown forwards by the impact, hitting another double-decker SBS bus that had stopped at a bus stop.

The three-bus pile-up took place along Changi Road at about 9.30am yesterday.

A total of 28 people were taken to the hospital, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which sent three ambulances to the scene.

It is not known if any of the bus drivers were injured, but The New Paper understands that the SMRT bus driver had minor injuries.

Mr Soh, 49, who declined to give his full name, suffered an injury on his nose that required stitches.

His wife, a housewife in her late 30s, had cuts to her knees and a fractured wrist.

Their nine-year-old daughter was unhurt.

Said Mrs Soh: "It was supposed to be a fun day. But now (that we're all injured), I guess we're going home."

The Sohs, who spoke to The New Paper outside Changi General Hospital's accident and emergency department, said they were seated on the upper level of the double-decker SBS bus service 2.

Mr Soh was beside his daughter at the second seat from the front and Mrs Soh was behind them.

'DIDN'T SLOW DOWN'

Everything was fine until their bus approached the bus stop along Changi Road near Kassim Mosque, Mr Soh said.

"I saw that there were two buses at the bus stop. But when our bus was nearing the bus stop, it didn't slow down.

"By the time I realised something was wrong, our bus had crashed into the back of the SMRT bus," he said.

Mr Soh said he was thrown forward and smashed his nose against the seat in front of him.

His nose began bleeding profusely.

His wife was thrown off her seat.

Their daughter's teeth hit the seat in front of her, but she did not have any visible injuries.

The crash shattered the rear windscreen of the bendy SMRT bus, service 67, and many on board were screaming, said one of the passengers, Mr Amir, 64, who was one of 10 on the bus who got hurt.

The security officer, who only goes by one name, was thrown against a metal railing and hit his chest, leaving him in pain.

Mr Amir said: "It was chaotic. Everyone was panicking and no one knew what to do."

Many passengers were thrown to the floor of the bus and others found themselves crashing into railings.

Mr Amir said he picked himself up and got off the bus.

"There was black smoke coming from the back of my bus, where the engine was. We were all afraid that it might explode so we immediately backed off," he said.

The passengers from the buses gathered at the bus stop as they waited for ambulances to arrive.

Mr Amir said the front of SBS bus service 2 was smashed in and its windscreen was shattered.

"It was one of the worst accidents I've seen," he added.

An elderly passenger on the SMRT bus was thrown from her seat and sent rolling down the aisle.

The 69-year-old retiree, who wanted to be known only as Madam Selma, said she hit her head and blacked out for a few seconds. When she came to, her head was throbbing and swollen.

"The impact felt as if my bus was going to be crushed. It was horrible," she said.

The accident was also witnessed by Mr Zainal Awang, 63, a security guard who was stationed at the security post of a nearby condominium, The Champagne.

He said: "I saw passengers holding tissues soaked with blood against their faces.

"I gave one of them some water to wash off the blood on his arm."

A cleaner at the condo said he was cleaning the condominium's basement carpark when he heard a deafening crash.

"It was so loud that I could hear it through the basement ceiling," said Mr Rahman Yusof, 39.

"When I came out to see what was happening, there were many injured people sitting on the kerb. One was lying against the tree and moaning in pain."

Mr Soh said the driver of his bus did not apologise to him or other passengers after the accident.

"It was only when the ambulances arrived that he asked us how we were," he said.

The SMRT bus driver, however, was seen tending to his injured passengers, said Mr Rahman.

He said: "The driver was going around asking everyone if they were okay."

The accident was captured by a security camera at a nearby lighting shop, Ion Lighting.

CAUGHT ON CAMERA

An employee, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim, showed TNP the footage, which shows SBS bus service 2 crashing into SMRT bus service 67.

Mr Lim said: "I was working when I heard a bang outside the shop. When I looked out, it was already over. But thankfully everything was caught on tape."

Miss Irish Low, 42, who works at renovation firm Cheong Bee, located across the road from the accident, said Changi Road is an accident-prone area.

Miss Low, who has been working at Cheong Bee for 16 years, said this was the fifth accident she has witnessed outside her shop.

"To prevent future accidents, I think there should be more traffic lights here so that vehicles will slow down," she said.

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