Roban: Don’t spread bus crash speculation
Walter Roban, the Shadow Minister for Public Safety, has called on the public to allow the authorities to properly investigate Wednesday's bus crash and not be guided by speculation.
The collision on East Broadway prompted widespread comment online and at the scene. A nursery school outing was aboard when the vehicle struck several parked cars before destroying a utility pole. The road, one of Hamilton's main thoroughfares, was opened to outbound traffic later in the afternoon, but remained closed to inbound traffic until about 10pm.
Parents told The Royal Gazette that they had been unable to open the bus's emergency window to evacuate children from the vehicle.
Both political parties have praised the actions of members of the public who came to the aid of passengers on the bus. On Wednesday night Premier Michael Dunkley told the House of Assembly that the accident demonstrated how the community could rally around at the “drop of a hat”.
“This must have been a very dramatic experience,” Mr Dunkley said.
“I would like to thank the bystanders who jumped in to help and the emergency services; they did a great job.
“I also want to thank the rush-hour traffic; we appreciate their understanding during this matter.”
While on behalf of the Progressive Labour Party, Mr Roban commended bystanders who assisted, along with Warwick Preschool teacher Linnal Simmons. Children sustained only minor injuries.
Mr Roban added: “While there has been much speculation via social media as to the cause of this accident, it is important that investigators be permitted to complete their investigation so that the facts may be ascertained. We encourage the public to be responsible, not pass on false or speculative information and await the findings.”
Asked at the scene if speed had been a factor, a Police spokesman said investigators were assessing the crash and that it was too early to speculate.
However, a veteran employee of the Department of Public Transportation reported that emergency escape tools were lacking on the Island's buses.
The “window smasher” is a specially designed hammer for breaking safety glass, and is ordinarily installed above the escape window on the middle section of the bus.
One parent at the crash site, whose daughter and granddaughter were stuck inside the bus, said she had repeatedly attempted to break the window with blunt objects, with no success.
“When they came to Bermuda, all those buses had a window smasher by the windows, but they took them out because they were afraid the public might take it and use it on the bus,” the driver said, requesting not to be identified.
“I guarantee you that half of the drivers don't even know how to use them. On the new buses, those windows don't open. There was a smasher on top of each window when they first came and management said to take them out. I am reporting this because it's very important that the public knows that something is wrong here.”