Belfast Telegraph

50 schoolchildren hurt in bus crash

Up to 50 schoolchildren have been taken to hospital after a bus crash.

The accident happened on the Omagh Road, Drumquin, Co Tyrone.

The bus, which was travelling from Castlederg to secondary schools in Omagh, ended up on its side in a field. A car involved in the collision also landed in the field.

John McPoland from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said 52 people were treated at the scene for injuries, which were not believed to be serious.

Most of the children and the occupants of the car were taken to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen but a number of young people were taken to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry as a precautionary measure.

Mr McPoland said six people had "slightly more than minor injuries".

"The vast majority need to be checked because of their age," he said.

Sinn Fein councillor Frankie Donnelly, who visited the scene, said: "Visually, it looked like there was the potential for serious injury.

"When a bus and a car end up on their sides in a field at the edge of a road, it could have been terrible. But t he fact that no one was seriously injured is something we have to be thankful for.

"I drive that road every morning and I know there is a very low sun on that particular stretch. I am sure there will be a full investigation to find out what happened but, from my own local knowledge, I believe that low sun may have been a factor."

Mr Donnelly praised the emergency services for their response.

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said the Omagh Road, Drumquin, was closed between the Segully Road junction and Drumrawn Road junction.

Motorists were advised to seek alternative routes.

In a statement, NIAS said it sent four A&E crews, three patient care service vehicles, two rapid response paramedics and two ambulance officers to the scene of the crash.

The company operating the bus service, Translink, also supplied two vehicles to transport some of the injured children to hospital.

Mr McPoland said: " Translink made available two further buses to transport those with minor injuries to the hospitals. Paramedics accompanied the patients on the two buses."

A Translink spokeswoman said an investigation had been launched to establish the cause of the accident.

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

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

Education Minister John O'Dowd said he was grateful no one was seriously hurt.

He said: "I was shocked to hear that a number of pupils from the Castlederg area have been involved in a bus crash this morning.

"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.

"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."

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