About 46 bus passengers, many of them children, were injured when their tour bus overturned on Route 6 yesterday. The bus carried families from Majdal Krum, who were going home after an organized trip to Jerusalem and prayers on the Temple Mount. Three passengers were in serious condition last night, and another 10 were in moderate condition.
One of the passengers, Mohammed Kaddah, 60, who was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva with bruises to his chest and feet, told Haaretz: “I heard children screaming, and I saw people with faces full of blood. I think the driver fell asleep.”
Kaddah said the bus was almost full, that it began “zig-zagging wildly” in the middle of the road, until it finally turned over. He believed the bus driver was going too fast, that the road was completely empty and “there was nothing to distract the driver.”
Kaddah said he chatted with the driver on the way, who told him that he normally drives cement trucks. Kaddah’s wife was taken to hospital with an injured shoulder.
Dr. Boaz Tadmor, deputy director of Beilinson, said yesterday that most of the injuries resulted from passengers sitting in a bus without wearing a seat belt. Four of the injured taken to Beilinson were children, including one who suffered head injuries and whose condition yesterday was described as serious.
Karim Farid, 39, was also on the bus and managed to film a short video clip of the immediate aftermath of the accident. “I closed my eyes to rest a little and suddenly woke up to screams from kids and adults,” he said. “I saw the bus was driving on the side of the road, and then it rolled over.”
Ali Mana, the head of the Majdal Krum local council, told Haaretz the council has set up a situation room to track passengers and their hospital status.
The bus was one of 300 that set out yesterday from dozens of Arab towns and villages, to bring families to an Islamic Movement organized activity on the Temple Mount, which included a children’s drawing competition. Movement leaders visited hospitals yesterday and promised assistance.
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