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Driver's diabetes not cause of crash

The driver of a bus in which two schoolchildren died after it collided with an oncoming car on the wrong side of the road told an inquest yesterday that he thought everyone on board would be killed.

David Ratcliffe said the front of his packed 49-seater coach "exploded" and overturned across the carriageway on the A66 near Keswick, Cumbria, in May last. "I thought to myself, we were all goners," he told the hearing at Cleator Moor.

Chloe Walker, 16, and Kieran Goulding, 15, died when the bus struck the Honda Civic driven by former teacher Patrick Short, 68, who was also killed.

An inquest into all three deaths heard that it was "highly unlikely" Mr Short's Type-2 diabetes caused him to drive the car into the path of the bus carrying children from Keswick School.

A 16-year-old girl – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said, Chloe was kneeling on her seat facing her shortly before the crash. "She was telling me she was having a really good birthday," the girl said. The inquest continues.