Minibus crash kills playgroup leaders on day trip

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The Independent Online

Two women playgroup leaders were killed and 10 children injured when their minibus overturned on a day trip to the seaside yesterday.

The party of 11 children, aged between nine and 17, from Canning Town in east London, were on their way to Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, when the accident happened.

Six ambulances and an air ambulance were called after their hired minibus overturned as it negotiated a sharp but busy corner near Colchester, in Essex, at a junction with the A12.

One of the two playgroup leaders was trapped under the vehicle and had to be freed by fire crews using airbags to lift the minibus. She died after being airlifted to Colchester hospital. The driver, a woman in her thirties, also died in the hospital after suffering serious chest injuries.

Three children suffered suspected broken bones. Another seven were mostly just shaken, but were taken to hospital as a precaution.

The two victims were described as "wonderful people" last night by two directors of the Brooks Road play scheme. David Robinson and Kevin Jenkins said in a statement: "We are devastated by the loss of two greatly loved play leaders and are just grateful that none of the children was seriously hurt.We don't know yet how this accident has occurred. We do know we have lost two wonderful people."

* A man was in custody last night in connection with the death of a six-month-old baby in a car crash. Robbie Millar, from Port Glasgow, died last week after his father's car careered off the M8 near Paisley and plunged down an embankment. Strathclyde Police have stopped more than 1,300 drivers on the motorway in an attempt to trace witnesses after claims that the car was forced off the road by another vehicle. Robbie's parents, Craig and Wendy Millar, and their two other young sons were also injured in the incident.

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