School coach crash: Whittlesford pupil, 6, tells of scary moment vehicle overturned on the A10

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.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
10:45 AM

A six-year-old girl has spoken of the scary moment the coach she and her classmates were travelling on overturned and crashed into a ditch.

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Six-year-old Libby Hull described the moment the coach she was travelling in crashed into a ditchSix-year-old Libby Hull described the moment the coach she was travelling in crashed into a ditch

Year 1 pupil Libby Hull was one of 42 Cambridgeshire schoolchildren who escaped injury following the accident on the A10 in Norfolk on Tuesday morning.

The children were among a party from the William Westley Primary School at Whittlesford, near Cambridge, who were on their way to the seaside.

They were travelling to Hunstanton in a convoy of three coaches, owned by Saffron Walden-based Richmond’s Coaches, when the incident happened.

After arriving back at her school, Libby and her mum spoke to the Reporter about the ordeal.

She 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.”

The six-year-old had to be carried over brambles to get out of the coach and was then treated at the scene.

She added: “There were ambulance, police and firemen there. The paramedic tested us to make sure we were all OK. They tested my blood pressure to make sure my blood was working and that hurt a little bit but not a lot.”

To keep calm, Libby said the pupils sung 10 Green Bottles in a field nearby.

Her mother, Alex Baraitser, said: “The e-mail the school sent out was really clear. They said they had been in an accident but all the children were fine.

“I was concerned in case Libby was upset about not going to the beach because it is such a lovely day. But then my friend called me and told me some more details.

“However, I stayed calm because the school made it very clear everyone was fine. The school really has been fabulous throughout this. I am really proud of all the children because they did so well.”

Caroline Butler, whose child was on the trip but not on the coach that crashed, said: “I am just grateful nobody was hurt.”

Mother Bev Small said: “The school has dealt with the situation extremely well and all the children have been looked after.”

Parent Gulya Atayera said: “It has been very scary, I was crying all day. But the good thing is nobody was hurt and the school has dealt with this excellently. It really is a great school.”

A spokesman for the Confederation for Passenger Transport, the trade body for coach operators, said: “We don’t know what happened but one of the coaches left the road and ended up in a ditch.

“The drivers from the following vehicles were able to assist in safely evacuating passengers from the coach and we believe there are no reported injuries.

“A replacement coach was sent to collect passengers and they’re all returning to school.”

He added the coach involved in the crash was a modern vehicle, fitted with lap belts.

Police said the single vehicle accident happened just before 11am.

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

Five members of staff and one parent helper from the Cambridge area were also on board. Police said a number of children and staff members received treatment for shock at the scene but did not require hospital treatment.

The driver had to be cut free from the coach and was taken to hospital for treatment after suffering suspected back injuries.

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