A collision between two school buses has led to 28 children being admitted to hospital, with one child in a severe condition. The collision occurred early morning in Stanley as the children were being taken to St Bede’s Catholic School and Tanfield School.
The buses were carrying 50 children and two adults when the collision occurred on the A693 at 8.20am.
The accident took place when one of the buses swerved across the road into the path of the other bus. A witness on the scene said they saw the bus going down hill on the wrong side of the road and then heard a loud crash.
One child and a bus driver both had to be airlifted to hospital while the majority of children suffered opened wounds and broken bones.The worst injury was suffered by a young boy who received severe damage to his face.
The children were helped by members of the public until emergency workers got to the scene. One of the first people on the scene was Michael Davison who boarded both buses, fighting through smoke to reach the bleeding and screaming children.
Mr Davison said: “I ran over to the buses. There was smoke pouring from the engines, coming from batteries of the vehicles and it was choking everyone. I was really frightened they were going to catch fire and I knew I had to get as many people off as I could.”
There were fears that a fire would soon erupt so getting the children off the buses was a priority of the first people to arrive.
Thirteen ambulances were sent to the scene at 8:22am as well as a specialist unit, the Hazardous Area Response Team. The fire brigade were next to arrive at the scene. The injured students were taken to RVI, the University Hospital of North Durham and the Queen Elizabeth in Gateshead.
One local mother has told reporters: “The firefighters and emergency services deserve a medal for the way they have all come together. It is carnage but it is quite organised carnage.”
Durham Police chief inspector Elaine Taylor said while the accident was serious, the outcome could have been much worse. Police are still investigating the exact causes of the bus crash and interviewing witnesses.
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