Schoolchildren survive bus crash

TERRIFIED schoolchildren were helped out of coach after it crashed into a ditch on the way back from a swimming lesson.The 15 children, from Ditchingham Primary School, near Bungay, were all sent to a nearby doctor's surgery for check-ups, apart from one boy who was taken to hospital with cuts to his face after window glass was broken.

TERRIFIED schoolchildren were helped out of coach after it crashed into a ditch on the way back from a swimming lesson.

The 15 children, from Ditchingham Primary School, near Bungay, were all sent to a nearby doctor's surgery for check-ups, apart from one boy who was taken to hospital with cuts to his face after window glass was broken.

Police are now asking for witness to the crash between a Norwich-bound lorry and the Beccles-bound Lambert's coach on the A146 at Stockton at about 12.10pm.

All the children, who were aged nine and 10, escaped serious injury but officers said the crash could have been much more serious.

Pc Shaun Newby said he was keen to speak to anyone who saw the crash, which happened about a mile north of the A146-A143 roundabout.

“No-one was seriously hurt, but it could have been much worse, as a branch from one of the trees by the side of the road did encroach through the windows,” he said.

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He added that without the seatbelts that had been installed and were in use, the children's injuries could have been more serious.

The children were on their way back from Hobart High School in Loddon, where they had been having swimming lessons with a teacher and an assistant, when the crash happened.

Peter Fairhead, the 57-year-old coach driver who also had cuts to his face, said he had done his best to avoid the lorry.

“It was just coming straight at me and it was all I could do to get out of the way as best I could,” he said.

Keith Weston, headteacher of Ditchingham Primary School, said all of the children had come back to school to have lunch, but had been put in the staff room.

Only the boy who was taken to the James Paget Hospital, Gorleston, had not returned.

“His mother has gone to be with him there,” he said. “The idea with the rest of them was to get them back here and have a look and see how they're doing and to let the parents know and leave it up to them.”

He said some parents had already been in touch with the school, while others were contacted.

Firefighters who were called to the scene of the crash had gone with the children to see the doctor and stayed with them to go back to the school.

Police and traffic wardens stayed at the scene for several hours directing traffic around the stricken coach before the road was closed to allow heavily lifting equipment to get to the scene. The road reopened shortly after 5pm.

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