A PROBE is underway after schoolchildren had a miraculous escape when a bus collided with an industrial hedgetrimmer near Colchester.

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Four youngsters suffered minor injuries in the collision on Thursday morning, which tore through a large slice of bus’s roof.

The bus - which was carrying around 45 children to Colne Community School & College, Brightlingsea - crashed in Alresford Road, Wivenhoe, around 8.22am.

Paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service said four were treated for slight injuries, while the rest were in shock.

“We arrived within five minutes and it was quite a scary looking scene,” said Trevor Redburn, the ambulance service’s assistant general manager in north Essex. “We counted forty-five children who were all shocked and confused.”

Both Essex County Council (ECC) and the bus firm, Ardleigh-based Cedric Coaches, will launch investigations into the incident.

Paramedics arranged for a replacement bus and called parents to ask them to come and collect the injured children, none of whom required hospital treatment.

Mr Redburn added: “I want to commend our team for the work they did during this phase in quickly identifying the injuries and providing everyone with a full assessment.”

Nardeep Sharma, executive principal at The Colne Community School and College, said: “The school was made aware of the accident and is waiting for a full report.

“Only minor injuries were sustained and any student injured received medical attention from the school staff and the emergency services.

“Essex County Council will be investigating the incident as will the bus company.”

Councillor Stephen Castle, cabinet member for education at ECC said: “The safety and wellbeing of all pupils is of utmost concern to us and this includes during the journey to and from school.

“We can confirm the school bus involved was completing an ECC contract.

“Emergency services attended the scene promptly and the bus operator provided a replacement bus for all those students wishing to continue onto school.

“I would like to thank the East of England Ambulance and Essex Police for their prompt response.”

Cedric Coaches declined to comment.

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