Three Britons die in coach smash

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The Independent Online

Three elderly British holidaymakers died and four others are fighting for their lives after a horror road smash in Australia.

Three elderly British holidaymakers died and four others are fighting for their lives after a horror road smash in Australia.

The group were on their way to a picnic when their minibus turned into the path of a meat wagon on a main road south of Perth, western Australia.

An Australian with them also died. The truck driver, in his 30s, escaped unhurt.

Eyewitnesses said the minibus went through a red light and rounded a corner into the path of the heavy goods vehicle.

The crash happened at Rockingham, 30 miles south of Perth, at 11am local time.

The holidaymakers are believed to be aged in their late 50 and early 60s, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said. Their next of kin have yet to be informed.

Emergency services at the scene were said to be "astounded" that despite sending five ambulances and three fire crews, they did not have enough paramedics to deal with the horror.

One British man died at the scene, with the Australian man and a man and a woman from Britain dying later in hospital.

The remaining four passengers, who had been trapped in the wreckage, were in Rockingham and Fremantle hospitals in a "very serious to critical" condition, with at least one of them not expected to survive.

Australia's Channel Nine TV reporter Jasmine Jones said the holidaymakers were on their way to a picnic.

"It was horrendous. It's such a tragic way to end a holiday."

She said of the minibus: "There wasn't much left of it. When I got to the scene and had to describe the vehicle, I was at a loss. It was very difficult to see how anyone could have walked away from that accident without injuries.

"The driver of the delivery truck did walk away from the scene but he was the only one," she told Sky News.

Sergeant John Curran, of the police operations centre in Perth, said investigations were still ongoing into the crash and no arrests had been made.

Identification of the dead and injured had not been completed.

He said: "It was a collision on a corner so obviously someone did the wrong thing on a junction between a main road and a side road. The weather was fine and there is not much left of the bus."

Three of the survivors were being treated at Fremantle Hospital, where two were in a "critical condition" and another was in a "serious condition", said spokesman Baden Pratt.

He said surgery would be "very likely" for all the patients but could not provide details of their nationalities, ages or details of their injuries.