Bus victim's ordeal was 'harrowing'
Witness John Preston tells 2UE's Garry Linnell of the moment a woman was caught under a bus in Sydney's CBD on Wednesday.PT1M52S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-31ny4 620 349 January 30, 2014
A woman who was hit by a bus in Sydney's CBD and trapped for two hours on Wednesday afternoon has died.
The woman, 53, was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital with multiple critical injuries after the incident on Clarence Street about 3.50pm.
However, police said the woman died several hours after she arrived at hospital.
A woman was trapped under a bus for two hours. Photo: Sahlan Hayes
Office worker John Preston said he was eating a pie with a colleague when he saw the Sydney Buses vehicle run over the woman as it turned into Clarence Street from Erskine Street.
"The next thing I hear is a thump and a crunch and a never-ending scream," Mr Preston said.
"The bus driver didn't know he'd hit her. If we hadn't run out on to the street and told him, he would have kept going."
Trapped under a bus: paramedics treat the woman. Photo: Keiran O'Shea, smh.com.au reader
Inspector Norm Spalding, from the the Ambulance Service of NSW, said the woman was "extensively caught up" in the back axle of the bus.
Paramedics spent more than two hours trying to free her, finally succeeding about 6pm.
"The rescue was slow and arduous and very difficult for those involved," Inspector Spalding said.
Commuters wait for buses on Druitt Street. Photo: Amanda Hoh
"In 37 years I would say this would be in the top five or six cases that I've been involved in in terms of delicacy, for want of a better word."
Paramedics had to climb under the bus at "considerable risk" to themselves to treat the woman, Inspector Spalding said.
"They were able to carry out some medical procedures under the bus and develop a rapport and stay with the patient."
Traffic delays: police cordoned off the area. Photo: Matthew Whitmore, smh.com.au reader
The woman was conscious for most of the rescue.
Inspector Spalding also said the bus driver, aged 70, had received treatment.
Police said the bus driver was not injured but was taken to hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing.
A NSW Police spokeswoman said the Metropolitan Crash Investigation Unit had launched an investigation.
She said the exact circumstances of how the woman and the bus collided were not clear, and it was not known if the woman was trying to cross the road at the time.
"That’s still unclear. We’re appealing for anyone who saw the incident and has not yet spoken to police to come forward," she said.
The incident demonstrated the Sydney transport system's extreme sensitivity to anything going wrong near peak hour.
More than two hours after the collision, bus queues were banked up on multiple city roads and queues of commuters were struggling to get home.
Buses heading into or out of the city over the Harbour Bridge were delayed by up to 90 minutes, the Transport Management Centre said.
Mr Preston, who works on York Street, said the bus was empty.
He rang triple-0 and went to the woman's aid, along with other passers-by.
"She was still talking and wanted her husband called.
"It was terrible, absolutely terrible."
A worker in a building across the street said emergency services had been “giving the woman blood” and had jacked up the bus to free her.
Victor Guo was working at Pie Face when the woman was hit.
"I was making sandwiches out the back," he said. "I didn't see what's going on, I just heard screaming."
The incident is the latest in what has been a shocking start to the year on roads in Sydney and through NSW.
About 2pm on Wednesday, a man trying to cross The Grand Parade in Monterey in southern Sydney was killed by a truck travelling north.
Before the death in Monterey, 32 people had died on NSW roads in 2014, compared with 14 for the same period last year.
- with Megan Levy