Passengers had a lucky escape when their bus had its roof ripped off after it hit a tree in a “freak accident”.
Five people were injured, with two taken to hospital, when the Number 91 clipped the overhanging tree on Kingsway in Central London, sending the roof crashing into the road behind it.
Pictures on Twitter showed a double decker with upper-floor seats and handrails visible and its roof on the ground. One showed the bus in front of a tree with skinned bark next to a road sign that warned of “overhanging trees” and a height limit of 2.5 metres, or eight feet, three inches on the inside lane.
Speaking at the scene, London Fire Brigade’s Euston station manager Gary Squires said: “Those involved were very lucky to escape serious injury.”
He added: “You can see the missing bark from the tree and the roof has come up and off the bus.
“This is a very unusual incident. It is a freak accident.”
Mr Squires said a man sitting on the top deck was left with a suspected broken nose while another passenger was taken to hospital with injuries to the side of their head.
Three others were treated at the scene and discharged.
Broken glass is scattered across Kingsway, which has been cordoned off and is surrounded by fire engines and police.
London School of Economics student Ethan Meade, who posted pictures of the scene on Twitter, said he turned around after hearing a crash.
He said: “I saw the roof fall down off the side of the bus, and the glass shatter everywhere. The passengers seemed to be sitting there pretty stunned as you’d expect. Police seemed to handle it very well.”
Transport for London said there would be a full investigation into the crash. Its head of bus operations, Ken Davidson, said: “At around 1pm today (2 February) a route 91 bus, operated by Metroline, collided with a tree on Kingsway at the junction with Portugal Street.
“Emergency services attended the scene and there will be a full investigation into this incident.”
Builder Billy Comfort, 21, who was working across the road from the scene, said: “I saw the bus drive into a tree and the roof came off.
“It was a bit shocking really, the emergency services arrived.
“There was one gentleman whose nose was bleeding holding a handkerchief to his face. There was a man and a woman at the back of the bus looking petrified.
“I couldn’t believe it, it’s not what you expect to see on a Monday. I could see a man at the front of the bus and this couple at the back who stayed seated there for 20 minutes to half an hour after the roof came off.”