An investigation was underway into a serious collision involving public transportation in Oslo at the end of the Tuesday evening commuter rush. Four persons were rushed to hospital and nearly 10 others also needed emergency treatment after a bus collided with a tram at a busy intersection in the city’s Vika district.
The accident occurred just before 5:30pm, when police said a bus ran a red light and crashed into the tram that was heading up Cort Adelers Gate not far from the Aker Brygge complex. The tram derailed, both the bus and the tram were severely damaged and 35 persons had to evacuated.
The collision also pulled down the high-voltage overhead power lines that run the tram system but fortunately they short-circuited. Otherwise, rescue workers told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), everyone involved in the accident could have been subject to severe electric shocks.
“If anyone had come in contact with electrified cables, they would have been seriously injured or killed,” Lars Grimsgård, brigade chief for the Oslo Fire Department.
He was among the dozens responding to the accident near the corner of Cort Adelers Gate and Munkedamsveien Tuesday evening. Four persons onboard the bus and tram were sent to Oslo University Hospital Ullevål and the other injured to Oslo’s emergency clinic (Legevakt). Among those sent to hospital was the driver of the bus, while the tram driver was uninjured.
“We know that the bus driver ran a red light, but we don’t know why,” police operations leader Tore Barstad told NRK. He said that another police vehicle was coming up behind the bus on an emergency call with blue lights flashing. The bus driver, Barstad said, may have run the red light in an attempt to get out of the police car’s way, or for another reason.
Both the bus and the tram were severely damaged and it took several hours before accident investigators could examine the scene and then allow emergency crews to clear the rubble.
“We’re working to find out what exactly happened here, but what is clear is that this was a tragic and dramatic accident for everyone involved,” Cato Asperud, spokesman for the tram line Sporveien, told newspaper Aftenposten on Wednesday. “This will affect us in many ways.” An emergency telephone line was quickly set up for passengers and their families.