Schoolgirl dies after Alton Towers coach trip crash

A schoolgirl has died and 11 other pupils are injured as their coach overturns and lands in stream during 'horrendous' weather…

A schoolgirl was killed and 11 other pupils were injured on their way to Alton Towers after the bus they were travelling in overturned and plunged into a river during heavy blizzards.

The teenagers were heading off on a school trip to the Alton Towers theme park when their coach careered off the road. Four were seriously injured and another eight suffered minor injuries in the accident on the A73 near Biggar in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.

The accident came as blizzards, gale force winds and torrential rain in parts of the UK caused major disruption to rail services and brought travel chaos to the roads.

An air ambulance was dispatched to the scene to ferry the injured children to hospital. There were 39 people on the bus – six adults and 33 children – when the driver lost control and crashed into a brick wall. The bus fell 10ft into the river and the fire brigade was forced to rescue the passengers through the coach’s sun roof.

A Strathclyde police spokesman said the reason for the crash was still being investigated, but described driving conditions in the area as ‘horrendous‘. The pupils were from Lanark Grammar School in South Lanarkshire, police said.

A local resident, Mark Attwood, said he was woken up by the sound of the crash shortly before 6am. He said: ‘They said a couple of schoolchildren needed heating up. They were obviously shocked and upset, and I am as well. It happened so close to my house and my own children use that route.’

A spokesman for the ambulance service said casualties had been taken to Wishaw General Hospital, while those with minor injuries were being assessed at the scene.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown passed on his condolences. He said: ‘At a time when winter weather has returned in spring to many parts of the country, our thoughts are with the families and the friends of those children of Lanark Grammar School who have been seriously injured this morning in a bus accident in the north of our country.’


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