Several injured in traffic collision

Eighteen passengers from a coaster bus were rushed to the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) late Wednesday, some suffering multiple injuries, following a traffic collision in the Dutchman’s Bay area.

The accident involved a white coaster passenger bus which operates from St. John’s to Coolidge and a Mack truck which was loaded with marl and stones.

According to Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police Elson Quammie of the Traffic Department, the truck was travelling from east to west on the Beach Coma road, in the vicinity of the Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology (ABIIT), when it collided with the bus which was travelling from south to north. The accident occurred shortly after 5 p.m. yesterday.

At the time of the interview, the senior officer said he was not in a position to say the nature or condition of those who were injured during the accident.

However, according to eyewitnesses, one woman sustained serious injuries to her hip while the other passengers received minor injuries.

The acting superintendent said investigations will continue in the matter, at the same time, he also took the opportunity to encourage drivers to exercise caution on the road, especially, when approaching junctions and intersections.

“They have to follow the green cross code, which is the highway code, which gives direction to look right and left and then right again, and when it is safe, then you can move off. Drivers still need to exercise more caution where it is a major or minor junction,” Quammie said.

Meanwhile, OBSERVER media’s cartoonist Shane Daniel, who was a passenger on the public bus, explained that there was panic aboard the bus at first, until one passenger shouted, ordering the others to “get out”.

He said most of the passengers escaped through windows of the bus which was pinned between a lamppost and a nearby gutter. Others were able to escape with the assistance of  residents, firefighters, police officers and other medics who were on the scene of the accident.

Daniel also stated that the commuters saw the truck and anticipated the hit before it happened.

“Some people moved in anticipation and tried to dodge to protect themselves. After the collision they were still in shock wondering what happened,” Daniel said.

When OBSERVER media arrived on the scene, passengers were being escorted to three waiting ambulances while eyewitnesses spoke with police officers who were investigating the accident.

Sections of the road, which lead to ABIIT and the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute were also blocked off, resulting in curious drivers abandoning their vehicles and walking to find out what was happening.