Miraculous escape of 42 children in a coast-bound coach crash at Hilgay
- Credit: Matthew Usher
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.
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.
You may also want to watch:
“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.”
- 1 Village pub limits reopening to ‘bread and butter customers’ only
- 2 Park and ride from Milton to return next month
- 3 Action this day as new alliance slashes £72k from councillors' allowance budget
- 4 Witchford hold their heads high despite narrow Cambs League cup exit
- 5 Hifields to bring world-class artists and 6,000 festival-goers to Cambridgeshire countryside
- 6 Shoppers rush to help man injured after falling in High Street
- 7 Family pay tribute to ‘talented’ father-of-three veteran killed in crash
- 8 Letter: Amazing reunion for couple thanks to paramedics
- 9 Man charged with armed robbery in Fenland
- 10 Family traumatised as their beloved Waffle shot in the face
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.