South East Wales

M4 Cardiff crash: Coach firm praise for those who helped

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Media captionThe coach driver was "well experienced" says the bus owners

The actions of passersby and emergency services have been praised by the owners of a bus firm involved in a crash on the M4 near Cardiff.

The incident involving a small coach and four cars on Saturday morning saw 28 people taken to hospital, many of them pensioners from Maesteg.

Police say the bus hit stationary vehicles queuing to leave the motorway.

The coach driver has been questioned under caution as part of the inquiry and the investigation continues.

"It would appear that there was stationary or slowing moving traffic in lane one of four, which is a dedicated off slip to go down the A4232 into Cardiff," explained Insp Carwyn Evans from South Wales Police, who is the chief investigating officer.

"For whatever reason a motor coach has collided with the rear most vehicle in that queue.

"There was a concertina effect, where another three vehicles were involved in the collision afterwards."

The incident saw 27 people taken to hospital by ambulance, and one woman airlifted for emergency treatment.

No-one sustained life-threatening injuries, though the motorway was left gridlocked for several hours.

Rescuers praise

The bus company involved, Cresta Coaches from Bridgend, released a statement on Monday responding to the weekend's events.

"The company would firstly like to thank the people who immediately stopped to give assistance with first aid and to also thank all the emergency services who dealt with the incident impeccably," said owner, Ian Williams.

"The circumstances leading up to the accident are totally unclear at this time."

The bus operator confirmed it had been carrying pensioners from Maesteg to Cardiff to watch a musical show when the accident happened at about 11:50 GMT.

Mr Williams said while some of the passengers sustained "slightly more serious injuries", the majority had been classified as "walking wounded".

The bus operator said 29-seater coach was driven by a "well experienced" driver who had been with the company since 2011. He was uninjured.

Image copyright Ricky Williams

The vehicle itself was 20-months old and fitted with seatbelts, onboard CCTV, and other monitoring equipment.

The firm said it had told police about the information, and could not comment further while inquiries continued.

An off-duty fireman who stopped to help said the incident was a scene of "carnage".

"It was crazy and surreal, to be honest," said Lee Morley from Swansea.

Speaking on Monday, he told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales that he went to a car to help a female passenger who had lost consciousness.

"Obviously I wasn't going to just drive past, it's quite in my nature to help," he added.

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Media captionFirefighter Lee Morley said it was a scene of "carnage"

He told BBC Wales that he later learned that the woman passenger was treated for non-life threatening injuries in hospital.

She was among the 28 people taken to hospital, including one woman who was airlifted by an air ambulance.

South Wales Police has been studying CCTV footage of the incidents, and said it would now be speaking to witnesses who were at the scene, as the investigation continues on Monday.

Moments after the crash, another accident happened on the opposite carriageway involving two cars but no-one was hurt.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption The crashes caused hours of delays on the motorway between junctions 33 and 34 of the M4 near Cardiff

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