A bus driver was killed and 10 more people were injured, one of whom is in critical condition, in a horrific road accident involving a driverless city bus near a busy roundabout in Nicosia on Thursday.
According to the police, at around 2pm an OSEL city bus travelling on the Nicosia-Anthoupolis highway, near the Archangelos roundabout, collided with the car ahead of it.
Reports said the car had overtaken the bus and had slowed suddenly in front of it, prompting the bus driver to brake hard, but police were not offering any definitive cause for the accident until investigations were completed, they said.
The bus driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was hurled outside, smashing through the windshield and landing on the road where he was run over by the still-moving bus.
The driver was later identified as Sofronis Mylonas, 61.
Once ejected from the bus, the out-of-control vehicle veered into the metal road divider, smashing through it and crossing into the opposite lane, where it collided successively with four more cars before coming to a halt.
Police said they believe the bus driver died instantly. But they would neither confirm nor deny whether he had suffered a heart attack, as initial reports suggested. A post-mortem was scheduled to take place on Mylonas’ body.
In all, 13 passengers were on board the bus at the time. Six people on board were injured. The other four injured were in the cars with which the bus collided before coming to a halt.
The injured were rushed to Nicosia general hospital by ambulance. One of the people was being monitored in ICU and said to be in critical condition. The other nine were out of danger.
The fire service said they had to cut people out of their cars.
Thirty-four rescue teams responded from stations in Nicosia, the fire service said, and by 2.24pm “the incident was brought under control.”
Speaking to the public broadcaster, Traffic Police Chief Yiannakis Charalambous said they were interviewing witnesses and it was a matter of time before determining the cause. “Unfortunately the bus driver was not wearing a seat belt,” he said.
Due to the accident the road was closed late into the evening, as the Public Works Department scrambled to repair the metal road divider. Traffic was diverted through Troodos Avenue and towards Makarios Stadium. Charalambous said the road would not be re-opened until the public workers were finished.
In a statement released later in the day, the OSEL bus company expressed grief over the dead driver and conveyed its sympathies to his family.
Mylonas leaves behind a wife and five children.
The blood bank made an urgent appeal for donations to help meet the needs resulting from the accident. For more information, call 22809052, 22809048.