By all accounts, the collision of a pair of double-decker tour buses in Manhattan’s bustling Time Square could have been worse.
At least 13 people were injured Tuesday, one seriously, after two of the buses which traverse city neighborhoods collided about 4 p.m. The crash occurred near a normally packed sidewalk next to the TKTS booth at 47th Street and Seventh Avenue, police and fire officials said.
Earthcam video from the scene showed pedestrians running from the crash site moments before a towering pole crashed to the sidewalk, appearing to strike a man in the leg and narrowly missing his head.
A fire official at the scene said the number of injuries was surprisingly low given the size of the pole.
“I thought people were going to die,” said Ida Bailey, an employee of one of the bus lines involved in the accident. “I started praying.”
Bailey said a GrayLine bus — with a driver and tour guide — apparently was unable to stop and struck a light pole or traffic light before hitting a CitySights tour bus packed with passengers.
“The driver told me the brakes weren’t working and he couldn’t stop,” she said.
Investigators have clear video showing a bus closest to the sidewalk speeding through the intersection and striking an SUV and another bus that just passed the intersection, according to a law enforcement official who saw the video.
The driver of that bus claimed he was having brake issues, the law enforcement official said.
The driver was being questioned by the NYPD, which is investigating the accident, the law enforcement official said.
Bailey said most of the injuries appeared to take place on the crowded sidewalk. A fire official confirmed that many of the wounded were on the sidewalk — some struck by flying debris.
None of the injuries are considered life threatening, police and fire officials said.
Times Square is a popular launching spot for the ubiquitous double-decker buses which take tourists around Manhattan.
After the accident, dozens of tourists stood at what is sometimes called the “Crossroads of the World,” taking pictures and video of the crash scene.
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