Belfast Telegraph

'Major incident' after Translink school bus and car crash in Co Tyrone: 50 children injured

By John Mulgrew

A 'major incident' was declared after around 50 children were injured as a Translink school bus collided with a car in Co Tyrone.

The smash happened on the Omagh Road in Drumquin at around 8.20am on Monday morning.

It's understood the Translink bus - which had been ferrying children to secondary schools in Omagh - crashed through a hedge and into a field before turning on its side.

It had been travelling from Castlederg when the accident happened.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said round 50 secondary school children were treated at the scene for injuries not believed to be serious.

It's understood around 20 were hospitalised - some suffering broken bones.

The spokesman said some of the minor injuries included children banging their heads off bus windows.

Six people suffered injuries "more than minor injuries".

Many of those injured were taken to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry, and the South West Acute Hospital in Fermanagh.

Sinn Fein councillor Frankie Donnelly - who visited the scene - said those involved in the crash were lucky not to have been seriously injured.

"The bus and car both ended up in a field, and thankfully, it appears there were no serious injuries on the face of it," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The bus was on its side, and although not in great shape, it was still intact."

He said the experience would have been "extremely traumatic" for the young children involved.

"I would commend the response from everyone involved - dealing with these young people caught up in this accident.

"The other school buses were still in the area this morning, and I can imagine it would have been traumatic for those students as well."

"The crash happened on a very straight part of the road. I live just a short distance away - it was a very bright sunny morning and that can often make it very difficult for driving."

Transport minister Danny Kennedy said a full investigation into the crash was underway.

"I understand and am relieved to hear that there are no reports of serious injuries," he said.

"This was obviously an upsetting ordeal for all the schoolchildren, passengers and others who were involved and Translink will now be carrying out a full investigation into this matter. They will also assist the PSNI with their investigation."

Education Minister John O’Dowd expressed his shock upon hearing about the crash.

"I am thankful that no one was seriously injured during this terrible incident and my thoughts go out to the parents and families of all those involved, including the occupants of the car," he said.

"I wish to thank the emergency services for their prompt response and for ensuring that everyone involved in the accident were triaged and if required promptly transported to local hospitals for appropriate treatment

"My department will be engaging with all schools involved to ascertain if we can be of further assistance and ensure that any help that can be provided will be provided."

A spokeswoman for Translink said:

"We can confirm that an incident has occurred involving an Ulsterbus carrying school pupils and a car on the Drumquin Road, County Tyrone, at approximately 8.20am.

"Emergency services were called to the scene and an investigation in underway."

The company also supplied two vehicles to transport some of the injured children to hospital.

The road has been closed the Segully Road and Drumrawn Road junctions.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was "relieved to hear there are no serious injuries".

DUP MLA Tom Buchanan said a "serious tragedy" had been averted.

"This will have been a traumatic experience for all those who were caught up in the collision and it is important that any support necessary is provided to schools over the coming days," he said.

SDLP councillor Dr Josephine Deehan said the incident was "of great concern".

"Thankfully, it appears no-one was seriously injured and that will bring great relief to the loved ones of those involved," she said.

"However, this must be an extremely traumatic ordeal for everyone involved, and it will have left everyone very badly shaken.

"The incident is of great concern, and it highlights how the safety of our children is of paramount importance. We will await the outcome of the investigation to determine exactly what happened."

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