Seatbelts saved coach crash pensioners

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The Independent Online

Seventeen pensioners taken to hospital after their coach overturned were recovering from their ordeal today.

The bus with 49 people on board was heading towards Norwich yesterday after visiting nearby Holt when it left the road, climbed a steep grass embankment and flipped on to its side.

Norfolk Police said most of the passengers were walking wounded, with 15 suffering minor injuries and five seriously hurt with potential fractures and cuts.

The force added that "thankfully" the passengers were wearing their seatbelts - meaning that despite the injuries, no-one was killed. Some had to be freed by firefighters.

An East of England Ambulance Service spokeswoman said 17 people were taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

One passenger said: "We had been to Holt and were heading towards Norwich. Me and my husband dozed off and the next thing we knew the coach was on its side."

Inspector David Ball of Norfolk Police said: "The people were trapped in the seats, thankfully they had seatbelts on.

"If nobody was wearing seatbelts... they'd have landed on top of each other, it would have been a lot worse. Thankfully we have had no fatalities involved in this."

Police are trying to establish why the crash happened. No other vehicles were involved.

The pensioners were on a Christmas bus tour run by Stowmarket-based Galloway Travel.

A spokesman for the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, speaking on behalf of the firm, said the tour had been due to finish on Monday.

The accident happened on the A140 at Horsham St Faith, just north of Norwich and close to Norwich Airport, at about 3.40pm.

An East of England Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "None of the patients were critically injured with most of the injuries being bruises, bumps and aches.

"A small number of patients had minor head injuries and potential fractures."

Horsham St Faith social club was opened as a location to provide support for the non-injured passengers.