Chinese bus driver who died saving 24 passengers praised
Government officials and thousands of ordinary residents on Tuesday attended the funeral of a bus driver in Zhejiang province who died saving the lives of 24 passengers after their vehicle was hit by flying debris.
A video clip from the bus showed that Wu Bin, 48, managed to brake, shift gears, slow down the bus to a stop and reassure and calm 24 passengers despite being in obvious pain. Wu was hit a flying chunk of iron that smashed through his windscreen.
Wu ultimately died of his injuries from the freak accident, which occurred last Tuesday.
The official China Daily said experts believe that the debris flew off from a vehicle speeding in the opposite direction.
Passengers at first did not realize anything was wrong, said Han Weichun who was seated near the back of the bus, according to the paper.
"We heard an almighty crash but thought it might be an accident involving other vehicles. Our bus pulled over gently before Wu turned around toward us, looking pale and sweating. He opened the door, told us to be careful and then went silent."
The paper said many people have visited his home in Hangzhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, to mourn their hero.
"I have been driving a car for more than 10 years and I know how difficult it is to stop a vehicle safely in great pain," said passenger Liu Shibing, who went to pay his respects at Wu's home.
"We admire him and are very grateful." If he had done anything differently, turned the wheel too far in one direction, or not managed to stop the bus, we would not be here, Liu said.
Wu’s sister said the family appreciates the public’s kindness but they won’t accept any donations in any form, said Dushikuaibao, a local newspaper.
The Hangzhou government has praised him as a hero and a role model. Zhang Jianting, the city’s vice mayor, hosted the funeral, which was attended by Feng Zhenglin, vice minister of transportation, Wang Jianman, deputy governor of Zhejiang province, and Hangzhou Mayor Shao Zhanwei, the official Shanghai Daily reported.
The Associated Press said China has a history of praising acts of selflessness and courage to inspire responsibility in an increasingly competitive and sometimes callous society.
Another China Daily report said after the accident, experts reminded the public to be fully aware of the danger of flying objects on expressways.
According to the report, China's road traffic safety law forbids passengers to toss objects from vehicles. Offenders can face a paltry fine of 5-50 yuan ($0.8-$8). For drivers themselves, fines are 20-200 yuan.