Miraculous escape of 42 children in a coast-bound coach crash at Hilgay

PUBLISHED: 11:38 23 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:38 23 July 2014

Emergency services at the scene of a coach crash on the A10 near Hilgay. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Emergency services at the scene of a coach crash on the A10 near Hilgay. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

Forty-two children escaped with slight injuries after the bus they were travelling in on a day trip to Hunstanton veered off the A10 at Hilgay and crashed onto its side in a ditch.

Emergency services at the scene of a coach crash on the A10 near Hilgay - A coach turns up to take children away from the area. Picture: Matthew Usher. Emergency services at the scene of a coach crash on the A10 near Hilgay - A coach turns up to take children away from the area. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The bus was in a convoy of three taking youngsters for an end of term trip to the coast when the accident happened around 11am on Tuesday.

Children told how they were scared and crying after the coach toppled onto its side but were kept calm by staff as they were guided off into an nearby field while paramedics treated some for shock and slight injuries.

The bus driver was cut free and taken to hospital for back injuries while traffic jams built up in the area as the road was closed by emergency services for six hours.

Year 1 pupil Libby Hull, six, said: “The driver felt poorly. The wheel of the coach hit a rock and then we fell into a ditch and the windscreen smashed.

“My chair was above me and I think I was sort of upside down.

“It was really scary, people on the other side to me were a bit sad and were crying.”

Emergency services, including four fire engines, attended the scene of the collision, between Dent’s Farm Shop and the Ely Road junction at Hilgay.

As parents back at William Westley Primary School in Whittlesford, on the outskirts of Cambridge, were sent news of the crash, pupils sang songs in a nearby field while they waited to board a coach back home.

Terry Hicks, who attended the incident for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Everyone was very calm and the children were a credit to both their parents and their teachers.

“Fortunately, we believe those on board were wearing seatbelts, otherwise this incident could have been a lot worse.”

A spokesman for the Confederation for Passenger Transport, the trade body for coach operators, said the coach was a modern vehicle fitted with lap belts and advised anyone on a coach trip to wear belts at all times.

Downham Market fire station manager Grant Cotterell praised the “absolutely fantastic” teachers who comforted the children and said it was one of the best examples of joint working he had seen.

He told how fire crews built a makeshift bridge over a dyke using boarding given by a local builder to provide access for the emergency services and casualty clearance.

Tesco’s Downham Market store staff stepped in to help by bringing water and biscuits for the children as they waited to go home.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ely Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ely Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ely Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

The county council says it will make the Traffic Commissioners aware of a major investigation being undertaken into the Fenland Association of Community Transport (FACT) when they decide on whether to allow them operator licences to run commercial services through new limited companies.

A man familiar to people in and around Ely for dressing up as Father Christmas is hanging up his red jacket and white beard, having collected over £2,800 for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).


‘Houston we have a problem’ admitted county councillor Bill Hunt, vice chairman of the county council highways and community infrastructure, when he offered a public apology today for the number of potholes across Cambridgeshire.


Jean Herrema, artist, dressmaker and co-founder of a long-running Ely women’s group, has died aged 86.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter