A PEDESTRIAN left seriously injured after being struck by a bus at the height of morning rush hour on Princes Street had been looking the opposite way when she was hit, an eyewitness said.
The 66-year-old woman was rushed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with head injuries after being knocked down by the First Scotland X8 bus across the road from Princes Mall just before 9am yesterday.
She has since been transferred to the Western General Hospital.
The incident led to the partial closure of Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare for four hours, forcing the suspension of the tram and the diversion of 20 bus routes.
According to eyewitness James Stevenson, 17, the woman did not look in the direction of oncoming traffic before it was too late to avoid the oncoming bus.
“She was crossing where the traffic island is but a few metres away from the pedestrian crossing,” said Mr Stevenson.
“She looked the opposite way, then she looked right, the way the bus was coming, but it was too late. She was pretty badly injured and was in shock.”
Mr Stevenson told how seven onlookers rushed to the woman’s aid and placed her in the recovery position before following instructions from a 999 operator.
“The second I saw it happen, I ran over to look if she was OK,” he said. “Loads of people gathered around. At first, they tried to give her space to get back up, but she never did. Then people ran over and covered her with their umbrellas from the rain.”
Following the incident, police cordoned off Princes Street in both directions between Waverley Bridge and North Bridge – including West Register Street – with officers diverting traffic to other routes.
Sergeant Brian Smith has appealed for witnesses to come forward and said the exact cause of the collision was still unknown.
He said: “We are still trying to establish how this collision occurred and are keen to speak with any members of the public who were on Princes Street at the time. In addition, anyone with any further information relevant to this ongoing investigation is also asked to contact police immediately.”
A spokesman for First Scotland East confirmed that a bus travelling between Haymarket and Haddington had been involved in an accident.
He said: “We have launched an investigation to establish exactly what happened and are assisting Police Scotland with their inquiries.
“Our thoughts are with the injured pedestrian.”
The incident yesterday morning is the second time in five days that Princes Street has been sealed off. On Friday, commuters and afternoon shoppers watched a knife-wielding man stab an armed police officer during a fracas that saw the culprit stopped with a taser gun.