Passengers hurt as coach overturns near Norwich

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Media captionRobert Flute from the East of England ambulance service described the scene of the incident

Nineteen people have been injured, at least five seriously, after a coach overturned near Norwich.

The single-decker coach, carrying mostly elderly passengers on a tour, crashed on the A140 Cromer Road at Horsham St Faith on Friday afternoon.

Eight remained in Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital overnight, three of whom had broken bones, but police said none had life-threatening injuries.

An investigation has been launched and police are appealing for witnesses.

Police, firefighters and at least seven ambulance crews were called to the scene of the crash at 1530 GMT on Christmas Eve.

Forty-eight passengers and a driver were on the coach, which officers said was the only vehicle involved in the accident.

Police said the passengers had been wearing their seatbelts.

The Galloway Travel coach was returning to Norwich following a Christmas tour of north Norfolk, including the towns of Cromer and North Walsham.

One passenger said: "We had been to Holt and were heading towards Norwich.

"Me and my husband dozed off and the next thing we knew the coach was on its side."

A man who was at the scene said between 10 and 20 people got into the bus through a back window or skylight and helped several passengers.

He said: "We were all helping people off the bus and making sure they were okay, both on the side of the road and those still stuck inside."

Some passengers were trapped in the coach after the crash and had to be freed by firefighters.

Police said those who did not need hospital treatment were taken to Horsham St Faith Social Club, which was used as a makeshift shelter.

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Media captionThe BBC's Alex Dunlop took a closer look at the scene of the crash

Norfolk Police thanked community members for their help and support and the social club for opening its doors.

Robert Flute, of East of England Ambulance Service, said: "Our sympathy goes out to the patients and their families involved in this distressing incident.

"They will have been very shaken and lots of reassurance has been given by our crews.

"It's lucky that this isn't far more serious."

Insp Dave Ball, from Norfolk Police, said the coach had left the road and mounted a rise before overturning on to its side.

He described the road conditions at the time as "fine".

"We can't account at present for why the vehicle has gone to its near side," he said.

He said the fact passengers had been wearing seat belts may have saved lives.

Police said Galloway Travel, based in Stowmarket, Suffolk, had informed relatives about the injured and was organising the recovery of the vehicle.

Any witnesses should contact Norfolk Police on 0845 4564567.

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