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Filipina injured in North Point bus crash recounts ordeal to OWWA

17 December 2018

Rescuers trying to remove bodies of people trapped under the bus

By Daisy CL Mandap

Filipina Marjorie Salvador, 43, had a narrow escape when an empty school bus rolled down a busy North Point street on Dec. 10, and slammed through an alley where she and her wheelchair-bound elderly ward were checking out items at a makeshift stall.

Salvador was thrown to the side as the bus rammed the wheelchair, then pinned it underneath along with the elderly woman, before coming to a full stop a short distance away.

Marjorie Salvador 
The Filipina who had been in Hong Kong for just two months, escaped with just contusions on her body. She was taken to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan but was discharged the next day.

Her 89-year-old employer surnamed Yip was not as lucky, as she remains in serious condition at Eastern Hospital.

Four people who were all local Chinese, were killed in the accident. Eleven others, including two Filipinos - Salvador and and family driver Silvestre Velasco, Jr., - were injured.

The story of what transpired that fateful day was recounted by Salvador when she reported to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration on Dec. 17. OWWA had tried to reach her earlier, but the police initially declined to give names of the casualties. The contact number supplied by her employment agency was no longer working.

Welfare officer Nini Clarin finally got through to her on Dec. 16, after her agency managed to get her new telephone number.

Salvador, who is from Cavite and is married with three children, told The SUN her employer, surnamed Yip, had been good to her. Only the two of them lived together in nearby City Garden, and they used to spend a lot of time going around their North Point neighborhood.

Often, the elderly woman would reportedly ask Salvador to wheel her to the makeshift stall in the alley just off busy King’s Road where the bus crash happened. She particularly enjoyed going there every 10th of the month, when the stall is tended by a vendor selling emergency lights and other electronic gadgets which she collected.

That particular 10th of the month, the two had taken a longer time than usual checking the goods that they were there at the precise time that the empty bus rolled fast down Cheung Kong street in the opposite side, and rammed through the stall.

Salvador said she was holding on to the wheelchair when the bus mowed it down from the side, and she was thrown off to one side.

Salvador appeared to have been so traumatized by the experience that she panics each time she sees a yellow school bus similar to the one that mowed down her employer.

Clarin said the Filipina will be referred to a social worker for counseling.

OWWA has also advised her and Velasco to file claims with the Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Scheme of the Social Welfare Department and employee compensation from the Labour Department.

On Dec 11, Chief Executive Carrie Lam pledged help to the families of those who died or were injured in the accident. She also said safety measures to prevent road accidents will be stepped up.

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