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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
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

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Recruitment Genius: Development Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game