Belfast Telegraph

Warning for children's safety after pupils knocked down in Belfast collision

Principal's relief none seriously injured

By James Gant

An MLA said there is a threat to children's safety as they walk to school along the busy Ormeau Road in Belfast.

The warning comes after three students from Wellington College were involved in a rush-hour collision at around 8am close to Rosetta Park.

School principal David Castles said it was of great relief none of the children was injured and gave his thanks to the emergency services.

A rapid response paramedic, four paramedic officers and three emergency ambulance crews were called to the scene and the year nine pupils taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

SDLP MLA Claire Hanna said she had been in touch with the school. She said the children had been left shocked by their ordeal.

"Local residents will probably already be aware of previous ‘near misses’ at this junction, which has a lot going on in rush hours," she said.

"I had previously requested that the traffic lights at St John’s be made more visible and will be forcefully making that request again today.

"There are 5,000 kids travelling to and from seven local schools each day and many families want to be able to walk and cycle but are deterred because it feels unsafe, due to the huge volume of commuter traffic.

"I had previously written to the Infrastructure Minister (when we had one) with a number of proposals for reducing the vehicle volume including safe cycle routes, enforcement cameras to ‘deter’ bad practice, and enhanced bus and ‘park and ride’ facilities further out of town."

She added: "In the immediate future I will be pushing for more visible traffic lights at St John’s Avenue to stand out from all the street furniture, as well as keeping up pressure for new lights at Cherryvale and the replacement (recruited, but not yet trained) for a crossing patrol person at St Michael’s in order to give reassure to families in area that it is safe to travel to school."

Principal David Castles confirmed those involved were from Wellington College and thanked the emergency services for their actions.

He said: "Three pupils from Wellington College were involved in a road traffic incident in Belfast this morning. There is great relief that none of the young people affected suffered serious injuries.

"Wellington College is grateful to the emergency service, notably the PSNI and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service who supported at the scene and whose first priority was the safety and well being of the young people in their care.

"The school have been working to support pupils and staff where required and on behalf of Wellington College I want to extend best wishes to all those directly involved."

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