The West

Star chefs die in freak crash
Chef Heston Blumenthal.

The star attraction at this weekend's Margaret River Gourmet Escape, celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, is in doubt after a horrific accident in Hong Kong that killed two of his star chefs and their taxi driver.

The chefs, both from Blumenthal's celebrated Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, England, were killed when their taxi and two double-decker buses collided on Hong Kong Island late on Monday.

Distraught staff at the Fat Duck were told of the deaths as they arrived for work at the three Michelin Star restaurant yesterday.

Organisers of this weekend's Gourmet Escape would not speculate on whether Blumenthal would pull out and return to Britain and an announcement is expected today.

More than 50 passengers were injured on the two buses.

The South China Morning Post reported that a bus driver collapsed at the wheel before his vehicle ploughed into the taxi, crushing it between the other bus.

Rescue crews treated dazed and injured passengers at the scene of the pile-up in the eastern district of Shau Kei Wan.

Several victims were trapped in the wreckage.

The crash reignited calls from Hong Kong politicians for legislation to improve health screening for Hong Kong's public transport drivers.

Legislative Council transport panel chairman Chan Kam-lam said he would call a special meeting to discuss the crash.

In August, five passengers were injured when a bus hit a shopping centre in the Hong Kong suburb of Tsuen Wan after the driver collapsed.

Arguably the most recognised chef in the world, Blumenthal has a range of engagements over the Gourmet Escape weekend, including stage performances, discussion panels and the presentation of a $600-a-head dinner at one of the region's wineries.

All his appearances were booked out well in advance.

Blumenthal told _The West Australian _in June he could not wait to return to WA.

"Margaret River is one of the jewels of Australia," he said.

"It has amazing wines and amazing produce."

The West Australian

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