26 May 2008

Tree collision kills passenger

Last Tuesday (20 May) saw a pedestrian killed in central London when branches torn from a tree by a passing bus landed on top of her. Eighteen other people were injured, four of them seriously, when the accident happened in Tower Bridge Road at about 0945.

The bus was operating Service 188 between Russell Square-North Greenwich and hit the tree near the junction with Tanner Street in Bermondsey. Police said officers have spoken to the driver of the bus though have yet to make their findings known.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "One woman was pronounced dead at the scene. She is believed to have been hit by falling branches." Transport for London (TfL) said it had launched a full investigation into the crash. A spokesman said: "Trees along this section of Tower Bridge Road are owned and maintained by TfL and are included in our rigorous tree maintenance programme."

The branch is believed to have hit the right-hand corner of the bus, denting the roof and shattering glass in the front windows of the top and bottom deck. One eyewitness said the collision was caused by a large tree branch which smashed into the double-decker.

Tower Bridge Road and several other roads were closed, and buses diverted, for most of the day while forensic experts examined the area. The 188 is operated by Travel London, a subsidiary of National Express Group, which operates more than 30 bus routes in the London area.

One of the comments left on the Sky news website was by a reader in Canada who was amused to see that TfL and its outgoing head - Ken Livingstone - were being blamed for the accident, when in contrast the incoming mayor - Boris Johnson - pledged to plant many hundreds more!