RMI Ambulance Crashes, Killing One, Injuring Several

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Driver was transporting patient to hospital when accident happened

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO , Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, May 16, 2014) – A hospital ambulance driver transporting a patient to the emergency room caused one death and multiple injuries when he crashed after attempting to pass on a two-lane bridge here in the capital of the Marshall Islands Thursday afternoon.

Witnesses said the ambulance, which was driving at high speed with its emergency lights flashing, began passing vehicles on the uphill portion of a bridge as it headed from a rural section of Majuro to the hospital.

But as it neared the top of the bridge, an oncoming vehicle appeared in its path, so the ambulance driver swerved back into his lane crashing into the back of a power utility crane truck that it had been attempting to pass.

Officials reported that a hospital nurse, who was riding in the front passenger seat of the ambulance, was killed at the crash site and pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

In addition to the driver and the nurse who died, the ambulance carried a patient and two Marshall Islands High School seniors on a "practicum" work experience program at Majuro hospital.

One of the students was reported to be in intensive care, the other undergoing emergency treatment.

The driver and the patient were also being treated for injuries.

There were no injuries among passengers of the Marshalls Energy Company crane truck, said utility company general manager David Paul.

In the crash, a portion of the passenger side door and windshield sheered off as it struck the utility truck, remaining stuck to the rear of the truck. Donated by the government of Japan, the ambulance was totaled in the accident.

The accident blocked one lane of the atoll’s two-lane main road for hours, with traffic piling up and police officers directing vehicles around the accident site.

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