Two killed, 47 injured in coach crash in Cornwall, England

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Map of England with Cornwall highlighted in red.

Two people have been killed and 47 people have been injured as the result of a coach crash in Cornwall, England. The vehicle, which was carrying 48 passengers as well as the driver, were travelling back from a journey to the village of Mousehole to see Christmas lights. The accident occurred at 2215 GMT yesterday in the village of Townshend, not far from the town of Hayle. Road conditions at the time were icy, which may explain why the accident occurred. The first police car that arrived at the scene lost control on the icy road and crashed into the already overturned coach. The two officers in the car were uninjured, however the earlier crash had caused the deaths of two women. One of them died at the scene of the accident and the other was later killed as a result of the injuries suffered. 47 people were injured, five of them seriously.

The sequence of events that is believed to have happened, according to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, is that the coach went off the road, collided with a tree, going through a hedge before finally overturning, causing the vehicle to end up on its side. 60-year-old Ann Ellis, who comes from the village of Illogan in Cornwall, was physically involved in the crash. Desribing her experience of this incident, she said: "All I can remember is a big bang and we just went over. I got trapped under somebody else and there was someone on top of me. It was difficult to breathe but two gentlemen dragged me out. I was shaken, really shaken. I think we all were. It was horrific."

Cquote1.svg I was shaken, really shaken. I think we all were. It was horrific. Cquote2.svg

—Ann Ellis

Derek Smith, lives near where the accident occurred. He said that "[w]e were just going to bed when we heard a knock on the kitchen door. She was covered in mud and had no shoes or socks on and was shaking as she stood there. I could hear this commotion going on.

Townshend, Cornwall, England

She said to ring the police and ambulance as their coach had turned over and there were 50 people in it and some of them were injured. My wife rang 999 and the lady was in a real panic. We gave her some socks and boots straightaway because she was freezing as she had nothing on her feet."

75-year-old Charles Parker, who is living in St. Agnes in the county, was also injured in the accident, suffering injuries to his leg and his head. "The roads were so icy," he explained. "I heard a cracking noise and all of a sudden we had turned over. I remember later being helped out of the coach through a window. We were close to a house and they took most of the people in there. Then helicopters turned up. It was very frightening."

Inspector Matthew Shaw, who comes from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, explained "[i]t seems from initial investigations that the coach has slipped on ice. The road is covered in a sheet of ice, it's treacherous, it's difficult to even walk down there." The amount of time taken to transport the injured passengers to a hospital was four hours.


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