James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Nineteen people injured after bus crashes into shop in northeast London
25 January 2022, 09:27 | Updated: 25 January 2022, 22:46
Nineteen people were injured after a bus crashed into a shop in north-east London.
Most were treated at the scene but five people - three children and two adults - were taken to hospital.
Photos from the scene show a double decker 212 bus veered off the road into an appliance shop in Highams Park on Tuesday morning.
The mangled bus was slowly winched away to reveal a damaged shopfront shortly after 4pm.
One witness recalled helping injured passengers.
"(A) girl had an injury near her eye," he said. "I thought she was dead at first."
The man, who wished not to be named but identified himself as a former police officer, said two school-aged girls appeared to be among the injured people.
Cafe owner Eric Garip, 38, said fuel appeared to be leaking from the vehicle, adding pressure to the rescue efforts.
He said: "I think diesel was leaking and so we had to take people out as soon as possible."
Later schoolchildren and local residents gathered around a police cordon to watch as the vehicle was moved off the pavement.
A shattered front window and a large shard of metal hanging in front of the cab were visible as it was attached to a tow truck.
Emergency services remained at the scene as the removal operation was carried out.
The collision happened during rush hour, at about 8.20am, next to a bus stop a short distance from Highams Park train station.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said his "thoughts are with everyone affected by this terrible incident".
The London Ambulance Service (LAS) later confirmed 19 people were "treated and assessed" at the scene and five were taken to hospital.
A spokesperson said: "We sent a number of resources to the scene of this incident in Highams Park this morning.
"Working with our emergency service colleagues we treated and assessed 19 people at the scene. Of those 19, we took five people to hospital: three children and two adults."
Mr Garip said injured passengers, including a number of children, were found "scared and crying" inside the bus.
He rushed out of The Corner Cafe after hearing a "big bang" and began trying to carry people out through the emergency door of the bus.
"There were a couple of kids on the floor," he said.
"We were trying to take the kids out and they were panicking. I spoke to the driver and said to come out, he said: 'I can't, I'm stuck'."
Mr Garip added: "Some parents were in the bus as well, crying. I tried to calm them but it was a big shock.
"We went upstairs and told the kids to come out but one was on the stairs so (we) were lifting them.
"It was very bad. They were all scared and crying."
He added he believed the driver of the vehicle was eventually rescued by emergency services after becoming "squashed" behind the steering wheel.
"The steering wheel and the glass was smashed so it was squashing him," he said.
Katriye Osman, who dialled 999 after hearing a "really loud explosion", said the incident was "traumatising".
She witnessed the aftermath from outside her beauty salon and said around 50 or 60 schoolchildren were standing around the bus after it collided.
"It was absolutely awful," she said.
Ms Osman added: "I'm really really shaken up by it. It was like a really really loud explosion. It was really traumatising."
She praised the community response to the collision, saying "everyone worked together" to get children to safety.
LAS medics including a trauma team from the Air Ambulance attended.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, tweeted: "Thank you to the first responders and emergency teams at the scene.
"My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. A number of people have reported suffering injuries and are being treated at the scene."
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said earlier: "At approximately 8.20am on Tuesday January 25 police were called to reports of a bus in collision with a shop in Selwyn Avenue, E4.
"Officers and London Ambulance Service are on scene.
"A number of people have reported suffering injuries and are being treated at the scene.
"Road closures remain in place around the junction of Selwyn Avenue and Winchester Road.
"Inquiries into the circumstances remain ongoing."