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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 12:32 GMT
Bus roof sliced off by tree
The bus
The bus was on its way to Oxford Circus
Ten people have been injured after the roof of a double decker bus was sliced off in an accident in central London.

The Number 3 bus hit a tree on the A3212 at Millbank just before 0900 GMT on Tuesday.

The bus, which runs on a route operated by Connex, was on its way from Crystal Palace to Oxford Circus.

One elderly man suffered head, neck, shoulder and chest injuries when he was trapped under a section of the roof.


Some passengers have been injured and the others must have been very scared and I am extremely sorry for the distress we will have caused them

Connex chief executive Olivier Brousse
Nine others, including the 31-year-old driver, were taken to St Thomas's Hospital with minor injuries.

All but one of the injured have since left hospital.

Scaffolder Mark Coote, 18, from Croydon, south east London, ran onto the bus to help the injured when he saw the accident.

He said: "I heard a big bang and turned around. The roof had come straight off the bus, there was a lot of shouting and screaming."

Connex said an overhanging tree on the route was "a known problem".

Chief executive Olivier Brousse said: "Some passengers have been injured and the others must have been very scared and I am extremely sorry for the distress we will have caused them."

Firemen on bus roof
Firefighters rescued passengers
He added: "We need to look carefully at this route, understand what happened this morning and ensure that all steps are taken to make the route completely safe."

But a police spokesman said it appeared the bus, which did not seem to have been travelling particularly fast, had hit the main body of the tree rather than the overhanging branch.

Joe Duckworth, environment and leisure director at Westminster City Council added: "We have a rigorous pruning programme to ensure that trees, and particularly ones close to the road, do not cause obstruction for vehicles."

Millbank was closed while police investigated the cause of the crash.

Traffic accident investigators will look at how the accident happened.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC London's Rachel Wright
"The offending tree and some others are being cut"
See also:

03 Dec 02 | England
02 Dec 02 | England
22 Oct 02 | England
15 Oct 02 | England
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