December 12 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 28, 2013
A passenger on a double decker bus has told of the terrifying moment when gale force winds blew the vehicle off the road and into a field.
Paul Kingham, 41, from Ipswich, was travelling on the Beestons number 91 service from Hadleigh to Sudbury along the A1071 this morning when the bus “started to sway” and a strong gust of wind lifted it over a ditch, knocking it onto its side.
Emergency services were called to the scene close to the junction with Coram Street just before 8am. There were just two passengers on board who both escaped with minor injuries and the driver was taken to hospital after receiving treatment at the scene.
Mr Kingham, who was sitting on the upper deck, said: “I don’t drive and I only decided to use the bus because the trains weren’t running. We were travelling along at about 25mph and I felt a bit uneasy because I could feel the bus rocking from side to side in the wind. You could really feel it shaking and it seemed like the driver was struggling to steer.
“I grabbed hold of a rail to steady myself and then the next thing I knew, I heard a thud, the bus veered off into the field and fell on its side. It was so surreal.
“There was a woman passenger downstairs who was screaming and I shouted out to her to stay calm. I called out to the driver but he was unconscious because he had banged his head. Looking back, it was terrifying and I don’t think I’ll be taking the bus again any time soon.”
One of the first on the scene was Pc Lee Andrews-Pearce, from Hadleigh. He said: “The two passengers, who were very shaken, managed to get out but the driver was trapped inside so I had to enter the bus via the emergency window and smash the bus windscreen from the inside so he could be lifted out on a spinal board.”
The road was closed for more than an hour while emergency services worked. According to station commander Dave Collins, fire crews from Sudbury, Hadleigh and Ipswich attended, working alongside two ambulance crews and members of the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART).
He said: “It took some time to get all of the services here because we were hampered by fallen trees and power cables blocking the surrounding roads.
“The bus was carrying around 300 litres of fuel, so our priority was to assess the scene to ensure that the bus was safe before we were able to release the driver.”
David Burrows, spokesman for Beestons, said the company was relieved that no-on was seriously hurt.
He added: “If the wind had been blowing in the opposite direction, the bus would have fallen into the road and it could have been a catastrophe. Thanks goodness it was the school holidays, otherwise the bus could have been ferrying children to school.”
Beestons buses were all recalled to depots after the incident and services have been suspended for the day.