A bus passenger was stabbed during a row after he opened a window on the top deck. The 36-year-old victim, who has not been named, was stabbed five times by the gang during the altercation on the 94 bus in Birmingham on Saturday (3 October) night. He suffered a punctured lung and doctors said he only survived the attack because he was wearing a thick coat.
Police were called to the scene at about 10pm after the bus driver radioed his control room, but the suspects had fled by the time they arrived.
Police have released CCTV stills of five men wanted in connection with the incident. Detective Constable Paul Broome said: "As the bus neared Alum Rock Road, there was an on-board fight involving around six people which resulted in a 36-year-old Bordesley Green man being stabbed. Initial inquiries suggest that there had been a dispute on the upper deck which then spilt downstairs."
A relative of the victim, who did not wish to be named, told the Birmingham Mail: "The doctors have said that he is very lucky to be alive and probably only survived because he was wearing a thick coat. It's unbelievable that all this happened because he opened a window."
"He opened it, they told him to close it, and then came over and closed it for him before they started hurling abuse at him. He decided to avoid confrontation and tried instead to leave the bus three stops early, but they followed him. There was a small scuffle as he tried to get off, but he didn't even realise that he had been stabbed.
"They ran to the opposite side of the road and caught a Number 94 heading back towards the city centre. He only realised he had been stabbed because he was struggling to breathe and then he saw the blood pouring down his leg. His only concern has been to get home so that he could get to work on Monday morning. He has just started a new job with Jaguar Land Rover and he doesn't want to lose his job"
The family member said the victim, from Bordesley Green, only caught the bus because he did not want to wait for a taxi after visiting a friend. He added: "He was planning to get a taxi, but he didn't want to wait and he often caught that bus. It's really important that people know this has happened. We also hope that anybody who saw it happen will come forward and speak to the police. He is obviously still in a lot of pain, but he is very lucky to be alive. The police have told us that they are getting CCTV from the buses."
The victim is said to be in a stable condition.
Police have said that witnesses have come forward in connection with the attack, CCTV has been recovered and forensic investigators have secured vital clues.
Anyone who recognises the men in the images should call 101, or Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.