Footage shows a crowd of people lifting a double-decker bus to rescue a unicyclist trapped underneath after he was knocked down in an evening rush hour accident in Walthamstow, north-east London Thursday.
Dozens of people spilled out of nearby shops, cafes, restaurants, and offices at the sound of the accident involving a route 212 bus on Hoe Street, at about 5:50 p.m., and helped to lift the bus off the unicyclist.
A witness described the noise of the accident, saying, “It was a big bang — we thought it was a shotgun or something.”
The accident victim was not named but he was believed to be in his twenties, according to the Daily Mail. His unicycle was crushed under the front wheel of the 12-ton double-decker. But he was pulled out from under the bus and rushed to a nearby hospital.
A police spokesman said the accident victim was in a serious but stable condition on Friday morning.
A medic, Stephen Hines, who arrived at the scene within five minutes, told The Independent that the man had already been freed by the time he arrived.
“When I got there the patient was already out from under the bus and members of public said they had freed him by lifting the bus,” he said. “It was definitely a great help to me as it meant I could start treating him straight away.”
One of the commuters who helped in the rescue, Robin Jerrom, 34, said he had often seen the man wearing a scarf across his face, riding through the neighborhood.
He said the accident occurred with a loud collision noise at about 5:50 p.m. Within seconds of the noise, a crowd, including police officers, had gathered at the scene.
Rescuers tried to get the confused and shocked driver to move the bus forward a little to free the trapped man, but when the effort failed, they heaved the bus and pulled the man out.
“It was about 5.50pm when I heard a loud bang, and looked out of the window to see someone trapped under the front wheel of a bus. I ran out to help, and could see the bus driver was a little bit shocked and didn’t know what to do. We tried to get him to move it forward, but he couldn’t so we got him to stop.
“Then more and more people came along to help move the bus, about 40-50 people. Eventually he [the cyclist] managed to crawl out and was in quite a state. It’s not a sight I’m going to forget. It was a very bad injury, a quite horrific image for everyone to see.”
Another witness Rahmo Ahmed, 32, from Leyton, said she heard a loud bang and screaming as she cross the road. She looked and saw a man trapped under the front wheel of a double-decker bus.
“I saw the man under the bus. I saw his hand was sticking out and he was screaming for help. It was horrible. I was holding his jacket and the bus driver moved the bus a bit. He was crying. Then a hundred people were on top of me helping and I was telling the man to come out, but he was too heavy. All of a sudden another man came and pulled him out.”
Kyra Sam told the London Evening Standard she was amazed at the immediate and determined response from bystanders.
“I’m really amazed at the strength of Walthamstow — no one hesitated to push the bus off, I was in shock. Everyone really came together to help — it was really nice to see that in the face of something so awful,” she said.
Sami Ullah, who owns a nearby café, told the Evening Standard, “we saw people leaving their chairs at Turtle Bay and Pizza Express and running towards the road. We saw people actually coming out of the bus as well.”
“There were so many people gathered there. There must have been about 50 to 100. They somehow managed to pull the bus away a bit. We were amazed – it was a heavy bus, a double-decker.”
Stella Creasy, Walthamstow MP, also tweeted in praise of rescuers.
“Walthamstow – if you were one of the 100 who helped lift the bus to rescue that poor cyclist. Just thank you. #proudmp #faithinhumanity.”
The Daily Mail reports that police officers stopped the bus driver but he was not arrested. The road was closed and motorists advised to avoid the area while police investigated.
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson, said, “Police were called at 5:50pm to a bus in collision with a unicyclist in Hoe Street, E17.The male unicyclist was taken by ambulance to an east London hospital where his condition is believed to be serious. The bus – a route 212 – stopped at the scene. There has been no arrest. Roads closures are in place.”
According to the Daily Mail, a female cyclist and specialist physiotherapist, Esther Hartsilver, 32, also died on Thursday in a collision with a lorry in Camberwell.
[Image: Twitter/Jim Kopite]