Stunned shoppers have told how cars flew ‘like dominos’ when an out of control bus smashed into 25 vehicles as it careered through a busy town centre.
The single decker left a trail of destruction as it ploughed into parked vehicles and motorists waiting at traffic lights in Dartford, Kent.
Sixteen people were injured as passers-by watched in horror when the No.480 bus to Gravesend sped out of control, with some fearing they were witnessing a terror attack.
Police are now still waiting to speak to the driver, who has been arrested for careless driving, to find out what happened.
He has not yet been identified, and is in hospital, where his condition is not thought to be serious. It is understood that some sort of medical incident cannot be ruled out at this stage.
One bus driver who works for a different company claimed that Hythe Street was not on the 480’s route.
Shopkeepers on the street have been told he had more than 20 years’ experience as a bus driver.
Shop worker Tharun Thayaparan, 20, raced outside when he heard a loud bang on Tuesday evening.
The 480 bus service to Gravesend crashed into at least 25 cars in Dartford this afternoon
The bus left behind a line of cars damaged with wheels and wings ripped off the vehicles
He said: ‘It was manic. I saw the bus ploughing through cars. It was like dominos.
‘I saw a woman jump out of the boot of the car as both sides were smashed and that was the only way to get out.
‘A little girl’s lip was cut open. Everyone was screaming and shouting.
‘The driver was in total shock. The car outside was pushed onto the pavement.
‘I have never seen something like that. People we’re arguing with the driver. Shouting at him, ‘Look what you have done. You have hurt people.’
‘It was chaos.’
The bus damaged cars on both sides of the road smashing windscreens and body panels
It is understood the bus turned into a road which was not normally part of its route
Hairdresser Ramazan Sasmaz, 38, had his Mercedes slightly damaged during the incident.
He said: ‘I was shocked. I saw a big bus running into cars.
‘You think it is a terrorist arrack. It was scary. It was terrible. There were cars on the pavement.
‘My car is scratched but some cars are written off.’
A black Audi parked along Hythe Street on Wednesday still bore the scars from the previous evening, with a flat rear tyre and a large dent in its rear.
Several cars have suffered major damage with wheels ripped off from their axles
Turquoise blue paint from where the bus had struck it was scraped along the car’s rear.
Further along, a maroon Toyota’s bumper hung off and one of its rear wheels had been ripped open by the first of the impact.
The bus reportedly finally came to a standstill near a Salvation Army building just before the traffic lights on Hythe Street.
Several tow trucks reportedly worked late into the night to remove damaged cars from the road.
Takeaway shop manager Mendis Arulappan, 55, saw his Toyota smashed onto the pavement as the bus scythed along Hythe Street.
Brian Barnett tweeted: ‘Serious accident in Dartford, my car smashed! About 20 cars involved, hit by bus. My back hurts!’
One car almost ploughed into the Dartford Greek Taverna as it was shunted onto the pavement, he recalled
Mr Arulappan said: ‘I was in the shop last night and a big noise came from outside.
‘There were cars on the pavement. One car had hit the wall of the Greek Taverna.
‘One car had gone inside the Salvation Army church.
‘I was shocked. My car mounted the pavement . People were crying and dizzy.’
The bus continued to crash into cars until it came to stationary traffic at the top of the road
The emergency services treated several ‘walking wounded’ at the scene of the incident
Kent Police confirmed a total of 25 vehicles are reported to have been damaged and 16 people have been reported injured.
None of the injuries are thought to be serious.
A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: ‘We were called, along with other emergency services, to a crash involving a bus and around 25 other vehicles.
‘Crews worked with SECAmb paramedics to look after a number of people suffering from minor injuries.
Police confirmed the driver of the bus has been arrested on suspicion of careless driving
Police are trying to determine the cause of the incident and are speaking to the driver
‘One person required oxygen following the incident.’
Kent Police are appealing for anyone with video footage of the crash to contact them.
A spokesman said: ‘We are appealing for information following a multiple vehicle collision in Dartford town centre on Tuesday 29 May.
‘Officers were called to Hythe Street at 6.48pm alongside the South East Coast Ambulance Service and Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
‘A total of 25 vehicles, including a bus, are reported to have been damaged and 16 people have reported being injured. None of the injuries are reported to be serious.
‘A man has been arrested on suspicion of careless driving and remains in police custody.
‘Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit is conducting ongoing enquiries into the matter and would like to hear from anyone that is yet to speak with an officer.
‘They would be particularly interested in receiving still or moving images taken by witnesses.’
Oliver Monahan, area managing director for Arriva Kent and Surrey, said: ‘Arriva can confirm that a bus has collided with a number of vehicles on Hythe Road in Dartford.
‘There have been some reported injuries and at the moment our priority is supporting the emergency services.
‘Our thoughts are very much with all those affected.’
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