Girl killed as coach crashes in 'atrocious' weather

A schoolgirl who died today when a coach carrying a party of teenagers on a trip to a theme park crashed has been named by police.

Natasha Paton, 17, from Cleghorn, near Lanark, was in a group heading for Alton Towers in Staffordshire when their bus crashed on a bridge and plunged into a stream during a snowstorm.

Three others on the trip from Lanark Grammar School, South Lanarkshire, were seriously injured and NHS Lanarkshire said a total of 44 people had received hospital treatment following the crash.







Police said the cause of the accident was still under investigation, but given the "horrendous" weather conditions in the area, it was clear snow "had a part to play".



The bus had only been on the road for about 12 miles when the driver lost control on the icy surface and crashed through the bridge wall, plunging 10ft into the river below.



Natasha is thought to have been thrown out of the vehicle as it careered down the embankment and was trapped underneath when it came to a rest.



Fire and rescue service workers who arrived at the scene were forced to rescue the other passengers through the sun roof.



The driver was trapped inside the bus and had to be stretchered out by emergency workers.



By lunchtime, 25 of the injured had been allowed to go home while 19 remained in various hospitals around Lanarkshire and Glasgow. All the patients were said to be in a stable condition.



Iain Heggison, whose house is near the accident scene, described the crash as a nightmare.



He said: "I heard a bang. I went outside and that's when I noticed the bus in the burn.



"It was lying on its side. It was packed with kids. They were crying and hysterical. It was horrible.



"I thought I was dreaming but this is a nightmare, total nightmare."



The annual trip was organised by the school as a pre-Easter break from exam studies for sixth-year pupils.



But one mother said she was surprised it went ahead. Susan Thornton decided not to allow her son Adam to go on the outing because of the weather.



Asked if she was surprised the trip had gone ahead, she told the BBC News channel: "I was very surprised. It was midnight when I made the decision.



"When I woke it was clear that it had been snowing through the night because of the level of snow. It was bad enough at midnight for me to consider him not going."



South Lanarkshire Council education director Larry Forde said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of one of our senior students at Lanark Grammar who died this morning, and all who were injured.



"The headteacher Mark Sherry and everyone connected with the school wish to express their sympathies to all those involved.



"At this moment, our major focus is on the young people, their families and staff within the school.



"Social work and psychological services have joined staff at the school offering support."



Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond both passed on condolences.



Mr Brown said: "At a time when winter weather has returned in spring to many parts of the country, our thoughts are with the families and the friends of those children of Lanark Grammar School who have been seriously injured this morning in a bus accident in the north of our country."



Mr Salmond added: "Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this terrible incident, including all the staff and students of Lanark Grammar School.



"My heart goes out in particular to the relatives and friends of the girl who so tragically lost her life and those who have suffered injury.



"The priority is clearly dealing with the immediate situation, while whatever inquiries may be necessary will, of course, take place."



The bus involved in the crash was operated by Lanarkshire-based company Photoflash.



Owner Alan Purdie told Radio Clyde: "It is a tragedy. We are all deeply concerned for the parents (of the dead girl) this morning. The company is distraught."



Emergency services moved the bus this afternoon.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk / Trainee Application Support Analyst - Hampshire

£25000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor