Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bus Plunge

The Scotsman carried this report:

The Press Association

Sun 13 Nov 2005
Bus plunge adds to quake misery

A bus with 50 people on board plunged from a bridge into a river gorge in quake-stricken north-eastern Pakistan, killing at least three people, police said.

The bus fell several yards into the Neelum River at Ghori, about 10 miles from Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistan-controlled section of Kashmir, the reports said.

Three bodies have so far been pulled from the wreck, said Shahid Hassan Quereshi, a top Kashmiri police official.

Ghulam Ullah Azad, a spokesman for the Islamic charity Jamat-e-Dawad, said members of his group were the first on the scene and had begun pulling out bodies.

"We don't know whether there are any survivors," he said.

Azad said about 50 people had been travelling on the bus.

Quereshi said he didn't know how many were on board.

Muzaffarabad and its surroundings were devastated by the October 8 earthquake, which killed more than 86,000 people.

Many roads were blocked by landslides or disappeared over the sides of cliffs, making land travel in the area extremely dangerous.

Why Bus Plunges?

Here is the Wikipedia entry:

Bus plunge

A bus plunge is a phenomenon in news media, where whenever a passenger bus is involved in a mishap (typically involving injuries or fatalities, but not always), it is almost invariably described as having plunged into whatever it hit, or off of whatever it left. A change in elevation is not required for the term to be applied by a news writer.

On any given day, you can search the news with your favorite news search for "Bus Plunge", and you will find stories about buses that, well, 'plunged' into or off of things.

This is not to say that buses are any more dangerous than other motor vehicles, which crash, slide, bump, fall, roll, careen, plummet, etc. into things so routinely that around 48,000 people are killed and more than three million people are injured in all kinds of motor vehicles every year just in the United States. Buses just seem to be more prone to be described as having plunged than other vehicles.

I do collect bus plunges.

It certainly is an odd avocation, but it is hardly unique.

So did my younger brother, who even composed a song about them (called, oddly enough, "Bus Plunge").

The emotions involved are certainly not Schadenfreude, that most German of emotions. Nor are they at all ghoulish. It is closer to showing Death your Nelson Rockefeller "Mr. Finger Digit Puppet ".

There are web sites devoted to bus plunges.

Practically every newspaper printed in the English language has printed bus plunge articles. The Times of London. The Independent. The Irish Times. The list is seemingly endless.

Even the New York Times has bus plunges. Yes, The Paper of Record( in this country) has archives of bus plunges going back to 1926. Here are a few headlines. They always have the words "bus" and "plunge" linked together in the headline.
  • 35 HURT WHEN BUS PLUNGES TO RIVER, Jul 5, 1926; pg. 2, 1
  • 26 INJURED AS BUS PLUNGES INTO LAKE, May 31, 1928; pg. 27, 1
  • BUS PLUNGE INJURES SIX FROM NEW YORK, Jan 21, 1935; pg. 5, 1
  • MANY HURT AS BUS PLUNGES OFF ROAD, Jul 15, 1935; pg. 1, 2
  • 14 DIE AS BUS PLUNGES INTO RIVER, Dec 23, 1935; pg. 1, 2
There is a haunting similarity running through bus plunges. Each article is just column filler, almost irrelevant in the electronic age, and so small, yet containing hints of unspeakable horrors. Every occasion seems to arise - funerals, weddings, vacations, or just plain business. No country is immune, although third world countries seem to bear the worst of the burden.

Twenty killed in bus plunge
TWENTY people were killed when a bus plunged into a ravine on a mountain pass in South Africa. Fourteen women and six children, including a three-year-old girl, were killed when the driver of the bus, licensed for 65 passengers but carrying 77, lost ...
Bus plunge kills 45 in Bangladesh
Rescue workers and divers searching for bodies in a partially submerged bus after it plunged off a bridge, killing 45 passengers and injuring 15 in Bangladesh yesterday. The bus was carrying workers and their families returning from holidays in the c...

70 feared killed in wedding bus plunge;India
Dhaka - At least 70 people are feared to have died when a bus carrying a wedding party plunged off a mountain road into the Karnafuli river in south-east Bangladesh. The bus was taking about 100 people to a wedding at the hill resort town of Kaptai, ...

60 injured in bus plunge / South Wales (133)
Women and children were among more than 60 people injured when a bus packed with shoppers crashed and plunged 60 feet down an embankment in a South Wales village yesterday. The double-decker bus was carrying about 70 passengers to a superstore in Lla...
Other vehicles plunge as well:
  • trains
    12 dead in train plunge

    12nov04 AT LEAST 12 people were killed and about 160 injured when a train derailed in the dark and plunged down a slope in the Philippines early today, officials said.

    The Manila-bound Philippine National Rail
    ways train with about 400 people on board came off the rails at speed near this town 130km south east of the capital around 2.00am (5am AEDT), the civil defence office said.)

Dean Kirby

PLANE: An Air Transat Airbus, similar to the plunge plane.

AN air stewardess was injured when she fell from an plane as it prepared for take-off. She is thought to have been closing a rear door on an Air Transat jet when she plunged 20ft on to the concrete at Manchester Airport
  • cars

    Bridget Fonda hurt in car plunge

    February 28 2003

    Actress Bridget Fonda was recovering in a Los Angeles hospital today after suffering head and neck injuries in a car crash.

    The Single White Female star was alone in the car, believed to be a new Jaguar, when it tumbled over an embankment on a rain-drenched section of the Pacific Coast Highway early yesterday morning, police said.
  • trucks Thirteen killed in Iran truck plunge
    10/12/2004 - 15:04:10

    A pickup truck plunged into a river amid heavy rains in southern Iran today, killing 13 people, state-run radio reported.

    The truck, carrying 14 passengers, dived into the Dashtestan seasonal river in Bushehr province, the radio said without elaborating

Cow’s suicide plunge destroys woman’s car A 36-year-old Austrian woman was injured when a cow fell on her car, landing on the hood. The cow had wandered onto a hillside near Salzburg and toppled off over the exit lanes of a tunnel as the woman’s car was emerging.

The cow was killed in the fall.

As I read the article from The Scotsman, I saw in a sidebar that one could search the archive - Every issue of The Scotsman from 1817 - 1950. And so I did. Here are a few images.

The Scotsman - 12th September 1927

The Scotsman - 23rd July 1930, page 14

The Scotsman
- 13th September 1938, page 6

It seems to me that, as long as there have been buses, there have been bus plunges. Remarkable.

1 comment:

Greg said...

You should turn on word verification in your settings. It'll prevent most spammers from commenting.