M4 motorway reopens after coach crash near Newport
- 4 February 2014
- From the section South East Wales
The M4 motorway has completely reopened near Newport more than seven hours after a serious crash in which 13 people were injured.
A lorry, car and coach carrying 57 people collided at about 09:30 GMT eastbound at junction 25 (Caerleon) causing major traffic disruption.
Two people were seriously injured but most casualties were described as walking wounded.
Gwent Police said all lanes reopened by 17:00 GMT but traffic was still slow.
The eastbound carriageway had been shut between junction 28 (Tredegar Park) and junction 24 (Coldra) as emergency services dealt with the incident.
Part of the westbound carriageway was also closed for several hours while accident investigators examined the scene.
Tailbacks stretched as far as the toll booths near the Severn bridges westbound and the Cardiff Gate junction eastbound.
The coach was carrying more than 50 students, who police said had been visiting Wales on a sports tour from overseas.
Several people were treated for minor injuries at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport and one was admitted with more serious injuries, said a spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.
Two off-site triage centres were also set up - at St Julian's clinic and the Newport Centre.
The driver of the bus was flown to Morriston Hospital in Swansea while another casualty was treated at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
The drivers of the lorry and car were treated at the scene but did not require hospital treatment.
Some of the students were taken to a nearby rest centre.
Nick Smith, of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: "We assessed and treated a number of casualties at the scene of the road traffic collision, 11 of which have been taken to hospitals across south Wales with varying degrees of injuries.
"Incidents involving multiple casualties can be challenging, but staff both in our control room and on the frontline have worked hard with our emergency service colleagues, the local authority and local health board to provide immediate and seamless healthcare for patients.
"The students involved in the collision have remained very calm while our clinicians have assessed and treated them, helping the situation to run smoothly."
There were miles of tailbacks with many drivers spending hours in crawling traffic.
Mike Edwards, from Newport, was travelling behind a fire engine as it arrived at the scene.
"Children were being escorted off the motorway via the slip road in a very well controlled fashion," he said.
"The driver of the bus was visible and looked quite poorly but I could see him moving.
"It was a very shocking scene to witness."
Creative and therapeutic art student Abbey Murphy was trying to get to an afternoon exam at the University of South Wales' Caerleon campus.
She had travelled just 700m on the A48(M) from Cardiff to Newport in just under two hours.
"It's absolutely ridiculous, I've never been stuck in a traffic jam like it," she said.
Alex McDonald, who was trying to get to work in Bristol, told BBC Wales he spent more than four hours stuck on the A48 near Cardiff before finally reaching the M4 shortly after 15:00 GMT.
Earlier, he said: "The signs say there are delays rather than the motorway being shut.
"We're basically being parked here just to keep the traffic okay elsewhere.
"It's annoying when the signs don't give any indication of what's happening."
Another motorist, Kash Amin, had been trying to get to his business in Newport from Cardiff.
He said he had only been travelling a short distance on the motorway before it ground to a halt.
"People are getting frustrated," he said. "I've only moved 100m in the past 70 minutes.
"I've got staff and two shops that are closed."
Ch Insp Paul Evans of Gwent Police apologised to motorists for the closure, saying "the decision to do so is never taken lightly and we fully recognise the impact this has on motorists as well as the communities affected by diversions".
He added: "We need to ensure we investigate every such collision thoroughly, gathering all evidence possible, and also ensuring the safety of everyone involved as well as other motorists who will be using this road once it's reopened."