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Twenty-seven hurt as coach crashes into ditch

PUBLISHED: 15:29 31 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:29 31 October 2015

The coach in the ditch on the side of the A141 near March.

The coach in the ditch on the side of the A141 near March.

Archant

A coach driver has today described the dramatic moment his vehicle - with 70 workers on board - careered into a ditch as he avoided a crash with a lorry on a Fens road.

Overturned bus on A141 near MarchOverturned bus on A141 near March

A total of 27 passengers were hurt following the crash on the A141 near March, but no-one suffered life-threatening injuries.

Driver Abdul Haq told how his coach “capsized” into the ditch and everybody started shouting.

“I tried to calm them down. I had 70 people on board – a full coach,” he said.

“People were shouting. I tried to calm them and then I opened the emergency door and took everybody out one by one.”

Overturned bus on A141 near MarchOverturned bus on A141 near March

Mr Haq said he took evasive action to avoid a collision with a lorry coming from the other direction. “I tried to brake, but there was no room and I swerved. There was no other way, otherwise there would have been a head-on collision.

Mr Haq said he spoke to as many passengers as possible before a relief coach arrived to pick them up. He had been driving the workers from Vital Recruitment in Peterborough to Chatteris and it is understood he had taken evasive action to avoid a collision with a lorry.

Sergeant Simon Goldsmith of the Cambridgeshire roads traffic policing unit, said Mr Haq “took avoiding action” to bring the bus to safety.

The crash happened shortly after 6.15am and the road from Mill Hill Garage and Knights End Road was closed for three hours to enable the coach to be recovered.

One woman, in her fifties, sustained a broken leg and four others were taken to Peterborough City Hospital with less serious injuries.

Twenty-two people – aged between 17 and 60- suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

One of the passengers said: “People were screaming, shouting – I told people no panic,” said one passenger at the scene. The emergency doors opened quickly and we helped take people out.”

Four fire crews, a fleet of ambulances and Magpas air ambulance – as well as what Sgt Goldsmith described as his “entire traffic department”- were quickly on the scene.

Police said the ambulance service immediately began to attend all the passengers “examining bumps and bruises and the walking wounded”.

A Magpas spokesman said the 22 treated at the scene suffered a combination of head, chest and leg injuries - as well as headaches.

“Fortunately no one endured any life threatening injuries.”

Anyone with information, should contact the road policing unit on 101.

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