LONDON (AFP) Ten people were injured and two trapped passengers rescued after a bus crashed into a shop on a busy high street in south London.
The bus driver and two passengers were taken to hospital. Photographs showed the double-decker bus embedded in the side of a shop on Lavender Hill, near Clapham Junction station in Battersea. One passenger reported that the driver said he had “blacked out” before the collision. Another witness said he saw a trapped woman screaming and “a lot of blood” as smoke emerged from underneath the vehicle.
The bus mounted the pavement and hit the Poggenpohl Kitchen Design Centre, which was closed at the time, at about 7am on Thursday. Passengers described how a section of the shop’s awning had pierced the front windows on the upper deck of the bus. Police cordoned off the scene and advised commuters to avoid the area.
A London ambulance service spokeswoman said three people including the driver had been taken to hospital. Two were described as “priority” cases in a stable condition and one had minor injuries. Seven other people were treated at the scene.
Andrew Matthews, 34, of Wandsworth Town, said he was one of about a dozen passengers on the number 77 bus, which was travelling towards London Waterloo. He told the Press Association: “I was on the top floor at the back, fortunately. I noticed the bus drifting. I heard a smash and saw the roof of the shop going through [the bus] from the front left. It went to the fourth or fifth row.
“I wedged myself in, bracing myself. As soon as the bus came to a stop there was yelling, screaming. I noticed a lady wedged in the front right-hand side. She was screaming for help. There was a lot of blood.” Amy Mullineux, 40, a nurse from Wandsworth Common, was also on the bus and said the driver told her he had lost consciousness before the crash.
“I spoke to him. He said he blacked out before the bus hit the shop. He doesn’t remember hitting anything,” she said. “The paramedic told me they think he had some kind of fit.” Solange Morin, 33, had been hoping to catch the bus before she saw it crash. “I saw this woman [in the bus] shouting and banging on the glass. Everybody shouted ‘fire, fire,’” she told the Press Association. “I went on to the bus. I talked to her and was holding her hands. She was pinned. I wouldn’t have been able to get her out. She was so scared because people were shouting ‘fire’. There was a lot of smoke.”
A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “Police were called at approximately 6.55am on Thursday 10 August to reports of a bus in collision with a building on Lavender Hill at the junction with Altenburg Gardens, SW11. “The driver has been taken to a south London hospital. A number of passengers were treated at the scene.”
More than two hours after the crash, fire crews with cutting gear were still trying to rescue two women from the top deck. A spokeswoman said at the time: “We were called at 7am to reports of a bus crashed into a shop front. The shop front has collapsed. Two female passengers are trapped on the top deck of the bus, crews are working to free them. The passengers are both conscious and breathing.”