Two teenagers were killed following a crash between a car and their school bus, police said last night.
The driver of the car also died in the smash on the A66 near Keswick in Cumbria.
The teenagers — a girl and a boy — were on their way home from Keswick High School. Around 30 children were travelling on the 49-seater.
Speaking from the scene of the crash, Chief Inspector Kevin Greenhow, head of Cumbria Police's road policing unit, said it was too early to say what caused the two vehicles to collide.
He added: “They all go to the same school, so they will find it difficult to deal with this situation. The people of West Cumbria are resilient people and they will gather round and support each other,” he said.
Crash investigators could be seen examining the coach, which was lying on its side across both carriageways.
Nearby, a green tarpaulin covered another vehicle, believed to be a Honda Civic.
Thirty-five others were injured in the accident, which happened shortly before 3.47pm. The bus was on a daily run carrying the children back to their homes in Cockermouth, around 13 miles away. It is understood to have overturned after it swerved to avoid another vehicle.
RAF helicopters and air ambulances were called to the scene, along with police, fire crews, doctors and mountain rescue teams.
People living close to the site described hearing a “big bang”.
Dorothy Roper, of Hall Garth Farm, said she could see the crash from her home.
“I think a car pulled out of an entrance on to the main road and it must have hit the bus,” she said.
“The bus was then knocked on to its side. There was a big bang when it happened.”