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Crash relatives arrive in city

RELATIVES of four South Korean women killed in the city's deadliest taxi crash in recent memory have arrived in town while police yesterday announced another vehicle at the crash scene has signs of damage.

On Tuesday a taxi swerved into oncoming traffic and was hit by a bus on Xinzhen Road in Minhang District. All five people in the taxi died.

Colleagues of the deceased Dazhong Taxi driver told Shanghai Daily yesterday that the 49-year-old, surnamed Wu, was one of Shanghai's first licensed cabbies.

Minhang District police said yesterday that a car the taxi driver is believed to have swerved to avoid before hitting the bus had minor signs of damage.

The car driver has been detained by police. A district police officer said the investigation could last up to two weeks.

"We are gathering more evidence to learn exactly what happened. We are studying the damage to the car to find out whether it's old or from a collision with the taxi," the officer said.

Twelve relatives of the Korean victims arrived at Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport on Wednesday, airport immigration police said yesterday.

Authorities have not yet revealed the names of the Korean victims.

Wu's fellow drivers said yesterday that he was not scheduled to work on Tuesday but was covering another driver's shift. They said Wu's taxi license number indicated he would have been one of the city's first 100 licensed cab drivers of the current 100,000. With a good service record dating back a dozen years and a nice personality, he was also named team leader by the taxi company.

Many cabbies, after learning about the crash on television and in newspapers, said it appeared the veteran driver didn't react well in the emergency.

"We have been discussing the crash for two days, all thinking it's weird for an old hand. Most experienced drivers should have chosen to hit the sedan rather than swerve into oncoming traffic and a bus traveling quickly," one cabby said.

But the drivers all agreed that the bus speed at the time of crash would have also been a contributing factor.

"Vehicles should slow down to 40 kilometers per hour when passing an intersection, but apparently the bus didn't," said the cabbie.


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