Teenage girl killed in bus crash

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A teenage girl died today after a school bus crash.

Seven other pupils and the bus driver were injured in the collision between a bus and a lorry on Ballygawley Road at Caberagh in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

The casualties were taken to hospital in a fleet of ambulances and a police spokesman said one of the other children was critically ill.

The bus was hit by the lorry at a spot on the A4 at Quinn's Corner as it was about to turn into St Mary's Primary School, where it was about to drop off seven pupils.

There were another eight pupils from St Ciaran's High School, Ballygawley, on the bus, which ended up in a field.

The road is one of the busiest in Northern Ireland and there have been demands for it to be upgraded after a series of deaths.

Northern Ireland Education Minister Caitriona Ruane expressed her concern at the crash.

The minister said: "I have been deeply upset by the news of this morning's incident and my thoughts go out to those affected by the accident.

"The Southern Education and Library Board are providing support to the schools involved through their critical incident response team at what will be a very difficult time for the families, schools and communities involved."

Michelle Gildernew, the MP for Fermanagh and south Tyrone, said she was stunned.

"Its an absolute tragedy, and another pointless death leaving another family left heartbroken," she said at the scene of the accident.

"So many young people have been killed on this particular stretch of road and even though they have started the preparations for upgrading it. But what this tragedy once again points up is the need for all drivers to be extra, extra careful.

"But I'm so angry and annoyed. It's another young life cruelly snatched away."

A 44-year-old lorry driver was arrested over the crash on suspicion of dangerous driving, said police.

The injured children were being treated at the Craigavon Area Hospital, where worried parents and churchmen gathered.

Counsellors were also on hand to help the parents and pupils.

Democratic Unionist peer Lord Morrow, the Assembly member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, abandoned a sitting in the House of Lords to return to Northern Ireland following the crash.

He said it must have been a terrifying ordeal for the children on board.

"My thoughts are very much with the injured and those who witnessed this shocking incident.

"The fact the bus ended up in a field shows the impact it must have taken when struck.".

He said he was returning immediately from Westminster and travelling directly to the scene.

Lord Morrow said the particular stretch of road was "extremely treacherous and has claimed too many lives and left others injured".

The peer added: "This collision further underlines the need to dual-carriageway this road, which whilst it is accepted this is now starting, could not be completed too soon."

The school bus is understood to be part of a new fleet which was fitted with seat belts, but it was not known if the children had been wearing the belts.