Harlesden bus crash
Londoners put on a heartwarming display of “community spirit” after a bus crashed into a shop in Harlesden yesterday.
Four children were among 17 people treated by paramedics at the scene in the centre of Harlesden, north-west London, at 2pm.
Three people, including the driver of the “packed” No 18 service, were taken to hospital with serious injuries.
The 11-ton bus knocked down traffic lights and careered off the road, leaving the shopkeeper diving for cover when the crowded bus slammed into his shopfront.
Shopkeeper Abdel Chentouf, 49, from Edgware, was with a customer and two friends inside his jewellery shop Waves when the bus came crashing through the glass.
He told the Standard: “I saw the guy was driving towards the shop without any attempt to use the brakes. It was the building that stopped the bus.
“We moved out the way. Luckily it wasn’t speeding. People were screaming on the bus. It happened so quickly.
“Part of the ceiling collapsed and it’s cracked on the stairway. It was shocking. It’s the same as when people have a road accident – you feel demoralised and really down.
“They are saying the building’s not safe. The driver was shocked and sweating.”
The four men were trapped in the shop and had to be freed by fire fighters with ladders through a back window.
Video footage of the aftermath captured the walking wounded being helped away from the scene by the emergency services.
One man was seen limping away with his arms around two firefighters while a woman was taken away in a wheelchair. A police officer also walks past holding the hands of two small children.
Shane Lawrence, 42, a university student from Harlesden, said: “I heard a really loud sound like the pavement was being torn up. I had my back to it but I heard the road being ripped up.
“The sound was deafening as he was coming to crash.
“As I turned around the bus went into the shop. I was stunned. There were lots of people who walked around to the bus and everyone was helping people off the bus.
“People went up to the top deck to help the older people off. The bus was absolutely packed. I saw somebody pull a little boy from the bottom deck.
“You could see someone inside the shop trying to push their way out but they couldn’t because the bus was blocking everything.
“He couldn’t get out. Anyone who was walking past that at the time, in front of the shop or window shopping, would have been hit.
“I just helped anyone trying to step off the bus. Nobody hesitated everyone just ran over to help.
“It was packed I’d say there were 35 to 40 people on there. Most of them looked shaken and shocked.
“But everyone got them off the bus really quickly there was a lot of help there. There is definitely a community spirit here. It just shows people do care about one another.”
A man who lives in a flat above the shop said: “The bus should have turned but instead it crashed into the shop.
“It just came flying in. The engineers have to come and look and need to support it. They are relocating me for the night. He didn’t use any brakes or anything it went straight into the shop. I felt the bang.
“When I came downstairs the driver was there, shaken.”
The air ambulance landed nearby and dozens of police officers, firefighters and paramedics attended the scene while the road was cordoned off between Acton Lane and Manor Park Road for several hours.
London Fire Brigade station manager Sam Kazmanli said the building was “severely damaged” and another 45 people were evacuated from neighbouring properties.
Kevin Brown, of London Ambulance Service, said: “We sent multiple resources to the scene including a single responder in a car and a number of ambulance crews.
“We also sent our incident response and hazardous area response teams, alongside London’s Air Ambulance. We treated 17 patients at the scene.
“We took three patients as a priority to hospital. A further nine adults and four children with minor injuries were also taken to hospital and one was treated and discharged at the scene.”
Tony Akers, Transport for London’s head of bus operations, said: “There will be a full investigation into the incident.”
No arrests have been made.
Source: Evening Standard