School bus smashes into house

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The Independent Online

A school bus carrying 25 pupils crashed into a house today, leaving it on the brink of collapse.

The coach hit the house in Ilminster, Somerset, at 8.07am, embedding itself in a front corner.

Just one child was injured with a cut lip even though the walls of the house were moved back "by about half an inch".

The bus was going to Wadham Community School, in Crewkerne, carrying children aged between 13 and 18.

Deputy headteacher Matthew Gardner said the youngsters had all gone home or were with their parents. None required hospital treatment.

The driver of the South West coach escaped unharmed after it smashed into the property in Herne Rise. The occupants were also unhurt.

But it is feared the house will collapse once the bus is pulled free. Firecrews and building inspectors were working on the problem.

Avon and Somerset Police spokesman Steve Game said: "The bus is literally embedded in the house. The fire brigade are on the scene and, with the building inspector, are working out a plan to get the bus out. It is quite bad.

"The information we have is that if the bus is pulled out, the house could fall down."

A spokesman for South Somerset District Council said: "Two South Somerset District Council building control officers were called to the property this morning and have been assessing the situation.

"South Somerset District Council has also instructed a structural engineer to look at the structural safety of the building and has sent builders to secure it when instructions to do so are received from the team.

"The bus has knocked part of the front corner of the house out and has shifted the walls of the property backward by around half an inch. It's too early to say what long-term measures will need to be taken.

"South Somerset District Council's emergency planning team has already made arrangements for a place for the residents to stay today and they have been offered a lift to a local hotel."

Cheryll Crocker, who lives opposite the house, told the BBC: "I heard a loud bang, looked out of my window and saw the school bus had gone into my neighbour's front porch and corner of the house.

"I don't think anyone will be living in it for a while. The bus has hit the porch of the neighbour next door as well."