Northern Ireland

Drumquin crash: School children taken to hospital after collision

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Media captionThe bus and car both ended up on their sides in a field

Fifty-two people, most of them children, involved in a crash between a school bus and a car in County Tyrone were taken to hospital as a precaution, the ambulance service has said.

The crash happened on the Omagh Road in Drumquin on Monday morning.

Twenty-seven people were taken to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry and 25 to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.

It is not thought any of them had serious injuries

Rosemary Watterson, from the Western Education Board, said all those treated at the South West Hospital had been discharged, as had a significant proportion of those at Altnalgelvin.

The bus was travelling from Castlederg to secondary schools in Omagh.

"The vast majority need to be checked because of their age," Ambulance service spokesman John McPoland said.

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Image caption The occupants of the car were also treated in hospital

Mr McPoland said six people had "slightly more than minor injuries".

He said this would have included children who banged their heads off the bus windows, but he said no-one went through any windows.

'Relatively unscathed'

Mr McPoland said three of the patients had been brought to hospital by ambulance service A&E crews due to the nature of their injuries, which, although not serious, required further assessment.

The children and the occupants of the car were taken on two Translink buses to the South West Acute Hospital and Altnagelvin Hospital.

They were accompanied by paramedics.

Both the bus and the car ended up on their sides in a field.

Katie Devlin, 18, who was on the bus, said it had been "really scary".

"We are all very lucky that it wasn't any worse," she said.

"I wasn't even worried about myself, it was everybody else, I was worried for them.

"I was checking everybody was OK and then I realised I was sore myself. It was just like your life flashing before your eyes."

Everybody is still very shaken up. Emergency services were excellent."

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Media captionKatie Devlin described the crash as "really scary"

Local councillor Frankie Donnelly, who visited the scene of the crash, said it was fortunate that "everybody has come out of it relatively unscathed".

"On that stretch of road that I travel every day early in the morning, a bright sunny morning, there would be a very low sun there and that may have been a factor in this accident," he said.

The bus involved in the crash was operated by Translink.

In a statement, the company said: "We can confirm that an incident has occurred involving an Ulsterbus carrying school pupils and a car on the Drumquin Road, County Tyrone, at approximately 8.20am.

"Emergency services were called to the scene and an investigation is under way."

Education Minister John O'Dowd said: "My department will be engaging with all schools involved to ascertain if we can be of further assistance and ensure that any help that can be provided will be provided."

The Western Education and Library Board said its critical incident response team had been in touch with the schools to offer support.