Driver of double-decker bus that crashed into building in London says he had 'blacked out'

Emergency services attend the scene of a bus crash in Lavender Hill, London on Aug 10, 2017.
Emergency services attend the scene of a bus crash in Lavender Hill, London on Aug 10, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) – The driver of a London bus which ploughed into a shop on a busy street on Thursday (Aug 10), leaving 10 people hurt, claimed to have blacked out, witnesses said.  

Passenger Amy Mullineux, a nurse, said the driver told her he had lost consciousness.  “He said he blacked out before the bus hit the shop,” the 40-year-old said. “He doesn’t remember hitting anything.”

Another passenger, Andrew Matthews, 34, said around a dozen were on board when the bus began to drift off the road.  

“As soon as the bus came to a stop there was yelling, screaming,” he said. “I noticed a lady wedged in the front right-hand side. She was screaming for help. There was a lot of blood.”

The red bus was entirely off the road, having partially demolished the front of a kitchen design shop.  Paramedics tended to people on the upper deck and firefighters with cutting gear worked to free the two trapped passengers.  

London Ambulance Service said they had treated 10 patients, of whom three were taken to hospital. The three included the driver, police said.  

The accident happened on Lavender Hill, in southwest London, known for the 1951 British comedy film “The Lavender Hill Mob”, starring Alec Guinness, Sid James and a young Audrey Hepburn, which won an Oscar for best screenplay.  

Another witness told BBC that smoke could be seen coming from underneath the bus. 

"I saw this woman shouting and banging on the glass. Everybody shouted 'fire, fire,' said Solange Morin, 33, who lives nearby.

"I went on to the bus. I talked to her and was holding her hands.

"She was pinned. I wouldn't have been able to get her out,'' said Morin.