Highlights — 02 November 2012 — by Albert J. Ciego
Schoolboy, 9, falls out of rear of moving bus

Retired policeman Fortunato “Nato” Noble, the father of a boy, 9, who fell out of a crowded bus while going home to the Lords Bank area in Ladyville, says he will sue the bus company.

Martin Noble was going home after school yesterday around 4:15, travelling from the city to Lords Bank in Ladyville. He and others were standing in the back of an overcrowded bus when around Mile 7 on the Philip Goldson Highway, the back door of the bus suddenly swung open, causing him to lose his balance, and he fell out of the bus and landed on the road. Those in the bus said that the bus was overtaking a vehicle and the driver was accelerating. The alarm was raised that Martin had fallen out, but the bus did not come to a stop until about half mile from where the boy fell.

The irate father said that the bus company should put more buses on the road rather than jam people into one bus. He called on the authorities to do something. He said that this is in violations of the existing laws and it endangers the lives of people. He has been advocating against overcrowding on buses and had been running ads on the television against the unsafe practice.

Nato said that his son is in terrible pain, but he thanks God that the accident was not fatal. Martin suffered no injury to the brain, and has no internal bleeding, but his face is busted up and swollen. He has several abrasions and scratches on his forehead, leg , and his fingertips were damaged. Nato said he was in the room when they were stitching him up, and he couldn’t take it.

His mother, Diana, said that his tennis shoes were destroyed as if though they had melted. She dreaded to see what would have happened to his feet if he had not been wearing his footwear. She said that although the CTScan is not showing injury to his brain, she notices that he would be sleeping and would twitch suddenly, and he does this frequently. He is not in coma, but he is medicated, she said.

Diana said that she does not see why the company cannot put another bus on the road. She said that the company only cares about money, and not about the safety and comfort of the people.

A driver who was travelling behind the bus reported that the bus was actually over-filled with children, who were in the rear. Before reaching Mile 7, he said, he saw the back door swing open and one of the children fell out. He maneuvered quickly to avoid hitting the boy, he said, and stopped his vehicle to render assistance to the boy, who was sprawled out on the road.

He also said he asked the boy his name, and the boy answered well. He was still conscious, the driver said, and the ambulance came within 15 minutes and took him to the KHMH.

The incident occurred despite the best efforts of the Hon. Edmund “Clear the Land” Castro and the Ministry of Transport to ban standing in buses and to ensure the safety and comfort of travelers.

Hon. Castro said that a special meeting will be held by the Transport Board and the permit of the bus company will be reviewed. They will also await the police report.

Hon. Castro said that presently, the company is only fined $100 for each standee, but this small fine has been raised to $500. Other recommendations have been made to ensure that violations of the new transport laws will not be tolerated. Visible enforcement by officers on the highways will now be the normal, and they will carry out frequent inspection of buses for violation of the traffic laws.

The new enforcement will be enacted shortly said the Minister.

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