Poland bus disaster of 1994
|Gdansk-Kokoszki, Poland bus accident|
1994 bus accident near Gdańsk in which 32 people died
|Date||19:00, 2 May 1994|
|Bus route or line||Zawory-Kartuzy-Gdańsk|
|Bus operator||PKS Gdańsk|
|Type of incident||Collision with tree|
|Cause||Burst tire (overcrowding)|
Poland's bus disaster of 1994 was a bus crash near Gdańsk involving a commuter bus PKS (Polska Komunikacja Samochodowa) that veered into a road-side tree. In the accident, 32 people died and 45 were injured.
The accident occurred on the afternoon of Monday, 2 May 1994. After a twenty minute scheduled stop at a depot in Zawory, the bus - an Autosan H9-21 - began its return to Gdańsk with just two passengers. However, at the next scheduled stop in Chmielenek, several more people boarded the bus. Further along the route, large crowds of travelers boarded the vehicle at stops in Chmielno and in Kartuzy. At Żukowo, the driver acquiesced to the request of some travelers to make a stop. Finally, when the bus stopped in Leźno, an additional eight people boarded. By this time, the overcrowded vehicle was carrying 74 passengers, far in excess of the maximum allowable capacity of 51 (39 sitting, 12 standing).
32 kilometers after the start of its journey and 500 meters before its next scheduled stop in Gdańsk-Kokoszki, the overloaded bus veered off the road and crashed into a tree while attempting to pass a Jelcz truck. The force of the impact drove the tree 4,2 meters into the body of the bus. In the collision, 25 passengers died immediately, with five passengers dying shortly after while being transported to local hospitals (two of them before reached hospitals.) Two additional victims died five and six days after crash, respectively, while the driver, Jerzy Marczyński, survived.
Cause of accident
The court case was closed in 1999, after a one and a half year inquiry into the accident.
The immediate cause of the accident was found to be the explosion of the right front tire, with contributing causes given as:
- Overcrowding on the bus (77 passengers instead of 51)
- The excessive speed of the bus during the accident sequence (60 km/hour instead of 50 km/hour)
- The generally poor condition of the 11-year old bus
The tree which the bus struck was cut down in February 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Poland bus disaster of 1994.|
- News item at wiadomosci.polska.pl (in Polish)
- Jarosław Reszka, "Goodbye! We are gone..." The biggest catastrophes in post-war Poland.
- "Gazeta Wyborcza" archives articles
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