Hereford school bus crash: Driver and 25 pupils taken to hospital after coach full of children crashes down embankment

Doctors describe 'distressing scene' of dozens of injured children covered in mud and blood

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The Independent Online

More than 20 schoolchildren have been taken to hospital and a driver left critically injured after their school bus crashed from an embankment in Hereford.

The full coach carrying almost 50 school pupils aged around 14 had pulled over to the side of the road when the grassy verge gave way, overturning the vehicle into a field below.

All passengers were assessed by ambulance crews at the scene on Holme Lacy Road following the incident at 8.20am this morning, and the female driver and 25 pupils were taken to Hereford County Hospital for treatment.

An ambulance spokesperson said the driver and six pupils who had suffered the worst injuries were taken away by ambulance. A further 19 children with minor injuries were brought to hospital via other means.

While all the children were able to get out of the vehicle on their own, West Midlands Ambulance Service said the driver had become “trapped” and had to be rescued by firefighters. She suffered chest and abdominal injuries and was later reported to be in intensive care.

The arrival of such a large number of injured children at hospital, many covered in mud and bleeding, was described as a “distressing scene” by one doctor at Hereford County.

Dr Malcolm Russell told Sky News there were “a number of potentially seriously injured casualties”, adding: “A lot of children were covered in mud, a few of them were bleeding.” he said.

“We're just very glad that the vast majority of children involved have minor injuries.”

The children are thought to have been travelling to Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School, a comprehensive secondary, and nearby St Mary's Roman Catholic High School.

Sara Catlow-Hawkins, headteacher at Bluecoat School, confirmed that four of the school's pupils were involved in the accident and said they had all “behaved and worked with each other in a tremendously supportive way”.

“Both schools would like to say that our prayers go out to the driver and her family,” Ms Catlow-Hawkins said.

A spokesperson for PW Jones Coaches, which operates the bus, said witnesses claimed that a lorry involved in the accident did not stop.

She said: “A coach that was carrying schoolchildren went off the road and the children are saying that a lorry was involved and didn't stop.

“The coach had pulled over to stop on a grass verge and it gave way.”

Dr Paul Harris, whose son was on the bus, told BBC News: “I've heard that all the kids are alive and there are some that have got broken bones. So it's much better than it could have been.”

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