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Bus driver arrested after two elderly men killed by double decker in Western Road, Romford

PUBLISHED: 19:01 15 November 2013 | UPDATED: 19:39 15 November 2013

Eyewitnesses have described the 'chaos' in the immediate aftermath of the accident

Eyewitnesses have described the 'chaos' in the immediate aftermath of the accident

Archant

The driver of a bus which hit and killed two elderly men in Romford this afternoon has been arrested.

Paramedics were called to the scene at about 2.20pmParamedics were called to the scene at about 2.20pm

Police are appealing for information after the men, believed to be in their 60s, were hit in Western Road, Romford.

They died at the scene.

The driver of the 252 double decker bus has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

He is currently in custody at an unnamed east London police station.

An aerial view of Western Road after the accidentAn aerial view of Western Road after the accident

London Ambulance Service paramedics were called to Western Road at 2.20pm.

Two single responders, a duty officer and an ambulance crew were sent to the scene of the accident, at the road’s junction with Chandlers Way.

The 252 travels from Collier Row Library to Hornchurch town centre.

Eyewitness Patrica Kluxem, 49, of Collier Row, who was on the bus at the time, said: “There were two bangs and a big cry. I was in so much shock, everybody got off the bus and there was lots of shopping on the floor.

The entire stetch of Western Road has been cordoned off by policeThe entire stetch of Western Road has been cordoned off by police

“I was crying, I called my pastor after to tell him what happened.”

It is believed the Liberty Shopping Centre closed its doors after the collision.

Another passenger said he heard a “bang” and felt a “thud”, adding: “everybody started panicking, saying ‘someone has been hurt.’”

No one else was injured in the collision and the next of kin of the two elderly men killed have yet to be informed.

Firefighters have been working through the eveningFirefighters have been working through the evening

Police believe there were a large number of witnesses at the scene, including those on the bus involved and another one that was passing at the time of the incident – understood to have been a 103.

Detectives want those people to come forward with any information they may have.

Shabbir Ahmad, whose brother owns Star Mini Cabs in Western Road, was manning the phones when the accident happened.

He said: “This disaster was inevitable – we were almost waiting for it to happen.

“At first I thought two cars had crashed, or a bus had hit another.

“When I heard screaming, I thought ‘no’.

“I quickly rushed outside and a lady said ‘oh no, they’re dead’.

“When I looked to my right I saw the back end of the bus and there was lots of debris, bags and blood.

“People were running. Crying and screaming. About 90 per cent of witnesses must have legged it – it was through sheer shock.”

The 44-year-old added: “Buses are coming and going here all the time. You see near misses 10 to 15 times a day.”

Mr Ahmad said police had told him it would take about 48 hours to fully reopen the area of the accident.

Mike Weston, Transport for London’s director of buses, said: “Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of the two people who have tragically died today after a collision with a route 252 double deck bus, operated by Stagecoach, in Romford.

“We are assisting the Metropolitan Police with their investigation into this incident.”

Western Road is closed in both directions, with the following bus routes on diversion: 5, 86, 103, 128, 165, 174, 175, 193, 247, 248, 252, 294, 296, 347, 365, 370, 375, 496, 498, 499.

The Road Death Investigation Unit has been informed and will be investigating.

Witnesses are asked to call police on 101, or to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Did you see what happened? Tweet us @romfordrecorder or email amanda.nunn@archant.co.uk.

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