PARIS – A British woman was seriously injured when a double-decker tour bus that took a detour due to a major display of sporting events got stuck inside a tunnel under a Paris bridge Friday, firefighters, police and the bus company said.
Three other people were slightly injured, including the husband of the British woman and two Chinese nationals, Capt. Estelle Katsanis, a spokeswoman for Paris firefighters, said.
The British woman, who was taken to a Paris hospital, was on the open upper deck when the double-decker bus struck the top of the tunnel, Katsanis said. Firefighters had to cut away part of the bus to extricate her.
Two dozen passengers were on the bus when the accident occurred, she said.
Dozens of police officers were seen around the bus as it backed out of the tunnel several hours after the accident. Its top-level windshield appeared smashed and what looked like a tent roof was collapsed.
The accident occurred shortly after noon as the Big Bus Paris bus traveled from the Place de la Concorde, a large square between the Tuileries Gardens and the Champs- Elysees, the police headquarters press office said.
The Big Bus Paris company said the bus had taken the tunnel on a roadway under the Alexandre III bridge, which spans the Seine River, because other routes were closed as Paris shows off its sporting ways in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games.
Big Bus Paris operates sightseeing "Car Rouges," or red coaches, in the French capital. The company said in a statement that its passengers were questioned as witnesses and that it is working "closely" with the police investigators.
The company said it was conducting its own internal investigation.
Traffic was off-limits in large areas of the city's center until midnight due to the sports events.