Hereford & Worcester

Children hurt in Hereford school bus crash

School bus
Image caption The bus fell about 10ft down an embankment on to a field

Twenty-six children were taken to hospital after a school bus overturned and went down an embankment in Hereford.

The crash happened in Holme Lacy Road at about 08:20 GMT, police said.

Fifty-three children had been travelling to Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School and St Mary's Roman Catholic School.

A St Mary's spokesman said the children's injuries were not thought to be serious.

The driver of the bus was treated in intensive care at Hereford County Hospital.

Three children and the bus driver remained in hospital on Monday evening.

West Mercia Police said it was investigating the "involvement of another vehicle".

Verge 'gave way'

Insp Alex Warner said the bus was heading to St Mary's School in Bartestree when it came off the road and toppled into a field, although it was unclear what had caused the crash.

A spokeswoman for bus operator PW Jones Coaches said children claimed a lorry involved in the accident did not stop.

"The coach had pulled over to stop on a grass verge and it gave way," she said.

Dr Paul Harris, whose son was on the bus, said he had heard some of the children had suffered broken bones.

Image caption Police said it was unclear what had caused the school bus to leave the road and go down the embankment

Clive Lambert, head teacher at St Mary's, said most of the children had returned to school to be reunited with their parents.

"They were very muddy, because they've obviously had to get out in a muddy field," he said.

"Their bags are still on the coach. One or two of them have lost shoes, but we've been looking after them and everybody's been accounted for."

'Tremendously supportive'

Sara Catlow-Hawkins, head teacher at Bluecoat School, said four of the school's pupils were involved.

She said both schools sent staff to help the children involved.

"The students behaved and worked with each other in a tremendously supportive way. The two schools worked well together and the emergency services were superb," she said.

"Both schools would like to say that our prayers go out to the driver and her family."

West Midlands Ambulance Service said all the children were believed to be aged about 14 and had managed to get out of the bus by the time crews arrived, although the driver was trapped for some time.

Police said the road was expected to remain closed from the bridge on the B4224 to Fownhope Road for some time.

Motorists were advised to avoid the area.

Nicola Goodwin, BBC Hereford & Worcester

The bus fell some eight to 10ft (2.5m to 3m) off the Holme Lacy Causeway Road.

Some of the pupils were carried away on spinal boards and others were described as walking wounded, with cuts and bruises.

It's not known what caused the accident. The road has recently been resurfaced here.

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