British students injured in two bus accidents

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The Independent Online
Several British students have been injured in two separate bus accidents on Austria's Tauern autobahn late last night.</p>A British Embassy spokesman in Vienna confirmed there had been two crashes and six children were in hospital, none with serious injuries.</p>According to a 7am (6am GMT) radio broadcast, the more serious of the two accidents occurred on the snow-slippery motorway when a lorry crashed into a bus with 36 British students from the Wirral on board near Bischofshofen.</p>A gendarmerie official told the radio that the bus had previously overtaken the truck, then skidded sidways and was subsequently rammed by the bus whose driver could not stop the vehicle on the slippery road to avoid the crash.</p>The accident occurred after 10pm local time (9pm GMT). A large team of local rescuers and Red Cross workers rushed to the scene to take care of the students.</p>The gendarmerie official said three students suffered serious injuries, while another 17 were lightly injured. They were taken to area hospitals.</p>In a previous bus accident involving youngsters from Twickenham on the same motorway near St. Johann, six students were taken to hospital with light injuries.</p>British Embassy official Mark Etherton said one girl from the school in Twickenham, Orleans Park Secondary, was in hospital with spinal bruising and might have to be flown home rather than travel by bus.</p>Other youngsters on her coach suffered only minor injuries, Mr Etherton said, but their driver was suffering from shock and was unable to begin the journey back to Britain.</p>Two schoolchildren from the Wirral group were in hospital after suffering cuts in the crash and were expected to be discharged today or tomorrow.</p>A male pupil was also in hospital with a "pubic fracture", which Mr Etherton said was less serious than a pelvic fracture, and was expected to stay in hospital for several days.</p>All the parents of the youngsters involved have been contacted by authorities, Mr Etherton said.</p>He said there had been 15 crashes in the Salzburg area last night after appalling weather conditions left the roads "like a mirror".</p>Heavy rain and sleet had fallen earlier in the day, and was then covered by a blanket of snow.</p>Both groups were believed to be returning from school skiing holidays when the two separate crashes happened.</p>Some of the children from the Wirral group were understood to have been taken to local hotels while they waited for their journey home to be organised.</p>