Another mass casualty bus accident: 37 injured, 5 critical

8 Ambulances, Scores of Police, Fire, Barbados Defence Force members respond

Another day, another horrific traffic accident with lives, faces and families ruined. You’re looking at an overturned minibus on Pinders Bottom Main Road in St. George. Thirty seven people hurt with 5 critically injured.

There’s no indication as to how many people the bus was carrying* but if you’ve ridden one of the yellow perils you know that 37 people is getting top heavy and makes bus sway and shift. Was the suspension in good shape? If a spring broke we might hear about it, but if there was a general lack of maintenance that contributed to this accident they will bury that deep. Don’t want to hurt the tourism industry you know. They might make the driver the scapegoat when the big factor was the bus wasn’t safe to drive. We’re just guessing here, but who knows what they will do.

(* Latest report says 37 passengers plus the driver and that the bus ‘skidded on oil’ – Barbados Today)

Why are we so cynical and critical when it comes to mass-casualty bus accidents? We’ve learned to be because there are never any satisfactory answers as to cause or remedial actions taken afterwards. We’ve learned.

Had the driver been drinking? The police will have to guess because they have no laws or tools to do otherwise.

And, once again, our Royal Barbados Police Force cannot complete a professional accident investigation because we have no laws giving them power to demand tests to see how much the driver had been drinking.

Successive Barbados governments promised to pass modern anti-drunk driving laws for decades. Our BLP and DLP governments talked about setting and enforcing maintenance and driver standards for public transportation vehicles. They promised to build safer roads and increase traffic law enforcement. They promised much and delivered little.

The government’s neglect proves that our leaders don’t see passenger safety in public transit as a priority. The carnage continues. Visitors from the United Kingdom have a 240% higher chance of being killed in a motor vehicle accident in Barbados than back at home.

Whatever happened to this mini-bus, I’d bet my house that it could have been prevented with a little less speed, a little wider road and a little more maintenance.

And true to form whenever there is a new mass-casualty road accident, Health Minister Donville Inniss says… don’t worry, government has formed a committee!

“We’ve seen the establishment of the Road Safety Council chaired by the Prime Minister and we will be getting very busy over the next couple of months as we seek to address the issue of safety on our roads and endeavour to reduce the number of accidents on Barbados’ roads,” (Minister Inniss) said.

Barbados Today: Job well done!

Further Reading

Barbados Today: Trauma and terror

Nation News: Mass Casualty in St. George

Photos courtesy of The Nation.


Filed under Barbados, Disaster

28 responses to “Another mass casualty bus accident: 37 injured, 5 critical

  1. Anonymous

    well well welll…..How about oil in the road and even if the vehicle was driving at 10km the result might have been the same!

  2. Anonymous

    Its not the inability of the Police to perform much less complete an accident investigation that is at issue, it is the inability the apathetic RBPF to arrest, prosecute, and jail these barely literate bus drivers who on a DAILY, HOURLY basis endanger the public safety, whether they are drunk or sober. Excessive speed and reckless endangerment is the norm with these terrorists. Why can’t they be controlled? The police, the government, and the insurance executives who insure these ticking suicide bombers are all going to have blood on their hands when the next mass casualty caused by an oil slick becomes a mass organ donor event.

  3. Bonnee

    We have a rule when visiing Barbados and that is…….never ride on a yellow bus. We have witnessed a driver drinking beer before departing. The buses are routinely overcrowded and the speed at which they drive is excessive. This accident is no surprise.

  4. Anonymous

    I’d bet my house that it could have been prevented with a little less speed, a little wider road and a little more maintenance….. I guess I will have ur house, cause oil in the road means that there is no stopping.. The driver was not drunk and there was no issues whatsoever with the maintainence of this vehicle! I c in a Nation Photo that MTW vehicle examiner Chase was on the scene, we will soon know what his report says!

  5. DAMM

    OH please don’t let the MADD bitches get into Barbados !
    Don’t get drunk and drive and no alcohol during work is RITE !
    But The drink driving laws in N. America and especially PEI Canada are Ridiculous and ruins many people lives as CASES are not evaluated on a a case y case basis and that is Because The MADD Bitches want REVENGE !
    DAMM .. Drivers Against Mad M—–F——-.

  6. 178

    Still, there is absolutely nothing that says the driver or the vehicle was at fault for this particular accident- y don’t somebody admit that an oil spill will make u fall… no matter what type of safety gear (shoes) u r wearing!

  7. JohnQ

    This incident is so much like the every-other-week FERRY disasters out in the Far East, where overloading is routine!

    As global population exceeds 7 billion humans, life gets cheaper and cheaper.
    Something has to cull our species -and it’s not going to be pretty.

  8. Omar

    It’s such a natural bajan thing to point the finger at the minibus driver. You all have obviously never encountered oil in the road unexpectedly. I have and it’s not pleasant. I was almost involved in an accident because of oil in the road and I was NOT driving fast. Why can’t we wait to get full reports before you tarnish people’s reputations?

  9. 172

    I agree with Omar: oil on the road changes EVERYTHING!

    Those Z and B guys routinely do their runs up/down to SinPhilip,
    beer in the head,whatever
    The public obviously approves of their fairly-safe (not perfect!) service
    beer/herb notwithstanding -or the public would cease to use the service!

    But along comes oil from someone who lost his oil-sump plug (= lousy mechanic?)
    and the picture changes radically!

  10. peltdownman

    Sorry, all you excuse-makers, but 37 injured? Is a minibus licenced to carry that many people, and that was just the injured ones? Oil will make a difference, of course, but what many people here don’t seem to understand, especially PSV drivers, is that their vehicle is designed to carry only so much weight. When overloaded, the brakes and suspension and steering cannot do their job properly. If the oil was responsible for the skid, then the instability would arise as the bus left the oil on to a normal surface and the tyres started to grip again. If overloaded, this instability would surely help the vehicle overturn. Also, if travelling at a properly regulated speed, oil or no oil, injuries sustained would most probably not have been so severe.

  11. 172

    Seat belts may have helped too..

  12. Omar

    37 passengers is not bar. It’s 24 sitting and 10 standing. Not many over, and while we blame the bus crew, as passengers we don’t care if a bus is full, we want to get to work, and if a van refuses to carry us when we know there is room, we will blacklist it. Especially when you live in Bayfield etc. I lived in Ruby up until recently and I know about driving AND catching bus, and it’s difficult not to overload. EVERYTHING is full, especially the transport board and you have to walk out of town to catch the van coming down so you can get a seat. When you live so far it’s easier said than done to just “wait on another bus”. You squeeze into whatever comes. I’ve been literally stuck to the windshield of transport board buses (they were that full). I say all of this to say that in Barbados, we like scapegoats, and minibus drivers are the best scapegoats around, but there are often serious deficiencies that contribute to problems. Can we look at the volume of buses on our roads? Does the transport board have sufficient buses to meet the demand of this nation at peek hours? Is there any law to go after people who leave oil on the road and cause accidents? There are so many pertinent questions that can be raised and instead we crucify the good old scapegoat. The minivans do IGNORANCE but in this case, I think we can come um with some more informed conclusions.

  13. Mystified

    The oil slick on the road was so large the road had to be closed today to clean it up.

    It was an ACCIDENT, sometimes they happen without anyone being at fault.

  14. Anonymous

    Accidents don’t “happen” — they are CAUSED

  15. 39

    how about if the oil was flowing into the road from nearby oil well being tested by BNOC?

  16. Pingback: Barbados: Could Bus Accident have been Prevented? · Global Voices

  17. mike

    @Anonymous ! Accidents don’t happen-they are caused ???? absolute rubbish ! NOBODY can prevent an ACCIDENT my friend ! An accident is an UNFORSEEN occurance ! Don’t get confused with an INCIDENT !

  18. annie

    Tragic. I had no idea drunk driving in Barbados is difficult or even impossible for police to control/investigate. Although I didn’t always feel safe on the yellow buses in Barbados, they were so convenient I didn’t even consider choosing the blue ones if I didn’t have to.

  19. John


    March 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    how about if the oil was flowing into the road from nearby oil well being tested by BNOC?

    If this is true all I can say is well, well, well … and I don’t mean to be facetious given the seriousness of the result.

    I see the same Codrington family so cruelly dealt with by the Arch Cot incident has been dealt another blow.

  20. Anonymous247

    Accidents ARE CAUSED!

    There is always a causative factor involved,
    be that causative factor human/man-made or naturally-occurring, my friend.

    NOTHING in this world happens “just like that”
    There is always something that caused it,
    even if it was a gust of wind that no-one was even on the spot to see!


    Suggest you do as I just did…
    Go to your favourite Search Engine and submit the phrase
    Accidents don’t happen they are caused

    Let us know what results come back, please?

    As an example:
    If a steering rod breaks and a vehicle spins out of control
    there is a causative reason that steering rod failed.

    Could be poor maintenance/replacement program,
    could be metal fatigue,
    could be improper metal used in the manufacturing process,
    but there is a real scientifically-verifiable reason that steering rod failed.

    Could even be that mysterious gust of wind that nobody saw!
    (although admittedly that’s stretching the bounds of scientific enquiry)

    Why did the steel rivets pop so easily on TITANIC
    when she went down in 1912?
    Google it and FIND OUT. There was a causative reason,
    having to do with carbon content of the steel, combined with the low temperatures involved….quite apart from the iceberg factor.


    This is why the world has the American NTSB investigate “accidents”
    and not the local Bajan Min. of Transport
    ..because Science and not mere beliefs are involved.

  21. Anonymous247

    To go a bit further…
    Now it has come to light (truth or not? I don’t know)
    that one of the oil wells had a leak/seepage that then spilled Crude onto the road
    (I’m guessing that people on the scene could have smelled it? it’s fairly ‘strong’ stuff)
    then we might proceed up the Causative Factor path by deducing:
    that the oil well caused the oil in the road
    which caused the minibus driver to lose control
    which caused Bajans to be injured when the m-bus fell on its side..
    (with no seat belts to hold people in place).

    Even further, let us go thru the canes, or up the cart road
    until we get to the oil pump
    and follow the trace of the crude to where it is leaking from!

    Is it leaking from the well-head itself? -or from the pump?
    -or from the pipeline that leads from the pump to the temporary holding tank?

    Did a seal blow?
    WHY did the seal blow?
    When last was the seal maintained/replaced/checked?

    This is the stuff of investigative science: this is how science advances,
    improves itself and prevents further accidents
    because this is how we learn!

    Not by saying “Maaaaan, it wuz a accident, maan …whuh yuh gyne do?”

  22. ?

    Let me first say that i didn’t bother to read all the comments posted.
    What I know for sure is this, I clearly remember two oil drilling platforms in the cane fields to the south of that same road where the mini bus overturned.
    I am a regular user of that road and I know for sure one morning a few days before the incident occurred I was on my way to work when I notice there was a large amount of water coming out of the cane field where the drilling rigs were located.
    I found it rather odd for two reasons, the first one being both section of road preceding and after the area where the crash occurred were bone dry, the second one would be the color of the water which appeared to be a dark brown color.
    Unless the procedure has changed I have observed when drilling is taking place a large pit is excavated and filled with water.
    With that said, if they were two (2) drilling platforms with in several hundred feet of each other I will assume there will be two pits or a large one.
    My question is this, what is done with that water after drilling is complete?

    On another note, how come we have to bring in an “expert” from the US to reconstruct an accident seen followed by the assertion that there was no oil found at the seen? something just don’t seem right to me and i’m sure anyone of the 100+ people who travels that road can recall what i have said.
    To the joker who said he would bet his house……. unless you were driving behind or in front of the bus, there is a good chance you would be homeless, sometimes things are not the way they seem to appear.
    To the other joker, if you are walking at the “proper speed” on a floor where ceramic tiles have been placed and you step on a small patch (oh I don’t know, let’s say) cooking oil, do you think it is possible for you to slip and fall on your a@@, dumb a@@.

  23. St George's Dragon

    Even if oil was the cause of the crash, why was it that only the bus was affected? There is a reasonable amount of traffic on that road but no cars went off the road. Maybe the bus was being driven “normally”, so far too fast.

  24. peter dodds

    i have a qualification in both civil and criminal road traffic accident investigation in the UK, and have visited Barbados on two holidays and i am disgusted with the overall lack of common sense, a police force that is incapable through lack of training or simply have no skills that are failing to take remedial action against bad drivers is unacceptable and Barbados has many bad drivers, if i was invited to work in Barbados the rules on driving and vehicle maintenance would change, i have witnessed trucks with bold tyres, buses that are overloaded, if i was to issue a full report on what i have come across it would seriously damage the Barbados tourist industry, police officers around the world are seen as public servants and law enforcement, not showcases.

  25. Ademola Adeyinka S.(a-k-a Why kay gold)

    The accident that always happen weither on the road or by the aircraft it happen through our lack of understanding and also by our carelessness

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    Yet another ride from hell from mullins to holetown on yellow bus with fifty two passengers on and fare collector telling us to move back! We could barely hang on to the bars above , he still wanted more fares so overtook the bus in front to get to the next stop doing about fifty miles an hour!! Where are the traffic police they should be visible in order to stop this happening! Two major accidents recently does nobody care!! I have talked to a lot of visitors to this wonderful island who are of a mind it is not safe so when are people’s health and safety going to be valued, local people alike??? T