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The Topstad bush crash incident of 2007 was an incident involving the collision of a passenger bus and a semi-trailer on a busy street in southern Topstad in peak hour traffic on the morning of April 18, 2007, at approximately 8:45 am. Fifty-nine people were killed in the accident, making it the most deadly road accident in Georgeland's history.

Background[]

Topstad's public transportation system, consisting mostly of buses operated by FedBus, a government-owned corporation, has recently been seen as overworked and underfunded. Spending on buses has decreased over the last five years and as a result, Topstad buses are regularly crowded, especially during peak hours.
There have been suggestions that the overcrowding of the bus indirectly contributed to the large loss of life.

Witness accounts[]

Witnesses say the bus, which was travelling the number 52 route between the southern terminus at Weighford Junction and Topstad's Central Business District, failed to stop at a red light, speeding at nearly 100km/h through a busy intersection. According to several witnesses, at this point two cars collided attempting to avoid the bus; other witnesses have reported the cars merely scraped one another. Police have confirmed one car hit a pedestrian, though there were no deaths reported connected with the collision.
Following its running of the red light, witnesses reported the bus continued down Fry Avenue, a busy thoroughfare, towards the T-junction with Kennedy Street, equally busy. At this point, witnesses have stated and police have confirmed, a semi-trailer driven by Donald Walker, failed to break in time and collided with the bus. It is at this point that the majority of the fifty-nine deaths apparently occured.
Witnesses reported smelling smoke or "burning fuel" shortly after the crash. At approximately 8:47, barely two minutes after the collision, both the semi-trailer and the bus burst into flames. The fire apparently began so quickly that nobody still alive inside the bus had time to escape. Witnesses reported hearing noises inside the bus, indicating people were still alive. One man, unidentified, was seen entering the bus from outside seconds before the fire, apparently in an attempt to rescue survivors. At approximately 8:51, police arrived and cordoned off the area, while the fire brigade arrived at 8:57 to extinguish the blaze.
Police stated that there was no indication that any of the passengers on the bus or either of the two drivers had survived the incident. There are unconfirmed reports that one passenger was not killed but remains in critical condition. No statement has yet been released to that effect.

Death toll[]

No official report has been released detailing exact casualties. Police stated that the remains of fifty-nine persons were removed from the wreckage, but have refused to make further statements on how many official deaths will be recorded. The death toll has been reported as 59 on all major news outlets. At 10:17 am, the office of Mayor Matthew Graham announced that 59 were dead as a result of the incident, and with another 36 injured, though this number has sinced increased in official reports. Police are yet to fully declare the exact number of dead.

Media coverage[]

The immediate aftermath of the crash was first reported on local radio and picked up by GBC radio at 8:56. At 9:05 a camera crew from GBC Television arrived, and their images of the crash aftermath were subsequently carried live-to-air on all major networks. This same footage was fed to Sky News and CNN beginning at 9:17 am. The story subsequently spread to all parts of the country and the major international press.
The GBC's coverage of the incident has been criticised for getting in the way of emergency teams. One member of the camera crew was allegedly "manhandled" by a police officer during the filming for attempting to get too close to the wreckage.

Police investigation[]

Reaction[]

Mayor Graham has declared all civic employees will be given the day off in mourning for the incident. President Charlotte Lang addressed the nation at 11 am and declared a national day of morning and ordered all flags flown at half-mast. In the House of Commons, Prime Minister Zoe Parker offered prayers for the victims and their families, and all further business of the House was suspended for the day. All candidates in the upcoming mayoral election visited the crash site and expressed their sympathy for the victims. However, the Liberal Democratic candidate, David Collins, attracted widespread criticism when he blamed the Conservative members of the city council for cutting back on funding for public transport. His remarks were decried by his own party. Conservative candidate Gary Trent and others condemned Collins for attempting to get political capital out of a disaster.

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