TWO people, including a 19-year-old girl, are in a critical condition and more than 20 others are injured after a bus crashed into a tree.
The number 59 double-decker bus swerved to avoid another vehicle and hit the tree in Kennington, South London.
The tree was embedded in the front of the bus and emergency crews had to use cutting equipment to gain access to one side of the vehicle to release two people who were trapped.
London Fire Brigade station manager Clive Robinson, at the scene, said: “We are working to release two people who are trapped on the top deck of the bus.
“A number of people have been injured and are being taken care of by paramedics.”
Metropolitan Police traffic sergeant Richard Sutton said two people were critical, including the girl. Two others were seriously hurt, he said. And two off-duty police officers were injured, one with a “heavily suspected” broken arm.
The bus did not swerve to avoid an emergency vehicle, as claimed by one witness, the officer said.
Scotland Yard said around 23 people are described as walking wounded.
In a statement, it added: “Seven people are still being assessed, of whom two remain trapped on the bus. At this stage, there has been no fatality.
“There was no police vehicle involved in the collision. Two uniformed police officers were travelling on the bus; both were injured. We await further details.”
One witness, a paediatrician who does not want to be named and was one of first on scene, said she treated people for shock, cuts and bruises and facial injuries and saw around 20 people injured.
The front of the bus, a number 59 heading to King’s Cross, was crumpled against a tree near the Ship pub in Kennington Road.
The bus “swerved to avoid another vehicle and struck a tree” at around 10.50am, Transport for London’s director for buses, Mike Weston, said.
He added: “The incident took place on Kennington Road near the Imperial War Museum, SE1.
“Our first concern is, of course, for the driver, passengers and others involved in this incident and we can confirm the emergency services are in attendance.
“There will be a thorough investigation into this incident as a matter of urgency.”
The road is currently closed in both directions with routes 3, 59, 159 and 360 currently on diversion.
The vehicle involved in the crash is operated by Arriva.