College bus crashes into bridge

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The Independent Online

A double decker bus carrying teenagers to sixth form college has crashed into the underside of a bridge, police said today.

The incident happened on Neasham Road, Darlington, County Durham, near the town's football ground just before 8.45am.



Up to 12 people including the driver were taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital but none were thought to be seriously injured.



Durham Police said all the pupils were safely removed from the bus, which was ferrying them to the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College.









The bus "hit the underside of a railway bridge near the football ground and this caused the top of the bus to come off", a Durham Police spokeswoman said.

The bridge, which carries local services between Darlington and Neasham, was closed briefly to allow the damage to be assessed, but was reopened.



Pupils who were uninjured were taken to college on another bus.



Police said Neasham Road was expected to be closed for the rest of the morning.









College principal Tim Fisher said: "This has been a lucky escape.

"I went down to the scene and, like everybody else, I was shocked, surprised and most of all relieved by the fact that all of the people travelling on the bus had walked away from the accident.



"Some of them have subsequently been taken to hospital with what have been described to me as minor injuries, but the vast majority walked away shaken but absolutely uninjured."



The bus picks up around 50 pupils from villages to the east of Darlington and was around a mile away from the college when it hit the bridge.



The principal said: "The bus doesn't normally travel on that road and part of the investigation will be why the bus took that route.



"We have spoken to the emergency services and the investigation is in the police's hands.



"We are interested to find out why this happened and to ensure it does not happen again."



Local people living near the crash scene came out of their homes to help, Mr Fisher said.



"I understand they were magnificent. The college really appreciates the assistance given by so many people immediately, doing whatever they could."

PA

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