Three children and two adults have been taken to hospital after a bus crash in north-east London.
Witnesses said “scared and crying” schoolchildren were among the passengers injured after the double-decker collided with a repairs shop in Highams Park on Tuesday morning.
At least 19 people were injured and treated at the scene by the London Ambulance Service (LAS), including a trauma team from the capital’s Air Ambulance.
Of these, five people were taken to hospital.
Katriye Osman, who dialled 999 after hearing what sounded like a “really loud explosion”, described the incident as “traumatising”.
Ms Osman, who witnessed the aftermath from outside her beauty salon, said around 50 or 60 schoolchildren were standing around the vehicle after the collision.
“It was absolutely awful,” she said, adding that she was “really shaken up by it”.
Cafe owner Eric Garip, 38, said he rushed out of The Corner Cafe after hearing a “big bang” on the opposite side of the road and began trying to carry people out through the emergency door of the bus.
Mr Garip said: “We were trying to take the kids out and they were panicking.”
“It was very bad,” he added. “They were all scared and crying.”
Mr Garip also said some parents in the bus were crying as well and that the driver was stuck in the wreckage.
He said he believed the driver of the vehicle was eventually rescued by emergency services after becoming “squashed” behind the steering wheel.
Mr Garip shared a clip of CCTV footage showing the bus nearly hitting a woman as she crossed the road moments before the crash.
The pedestrian, who was seen running to escape the path of the vehicle as it ploughed across a zebra crossing, was said to have had “an awful shock”.
Waitress Tina Hogan, 58, told the PA news agency: “She was saying ‘Oh my god, he nearly ran me over. I can’t believe it. I had to run out of his way.’”
Another witness, who did not want to be named but identified himself as a former police officer, described seeing “a lot of blood” coming from what appeared to be a head injury suffered by one of the injured schoolchildren.
The man, who helped to evacuate passengers after the crash, said another person seemed to have an injury near their eye.
The mangled bus was slowly winched away to reveal a damaged shopfront shortly after 4pm on Tuesday.
A shattered front window and a large shard of metal hanging in front of the cab were visible as it was attached to a tow truck.
An LAS spokesperson said: “We were called at 8.19am to reports of an incident involving a bus on The Broadway, Highams Park.
“We sent a number of resources to the scene including ambulance crews, advanced paramedics, paramedics in fast response cars, incident response officers and members of our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART).
“We also dispatched a trauma team from London’s Air Ambulance.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “My thoughts are with everyone affected by this terrible incident.”
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police, which was also called to the scene at around 8.20am, said: “Road closures remain in place around the junction of Selwyn Avenue and Winchester Road.
“Inquiries into the circumstances remain ongoing.”
Transport for London director of buses Louise Cheeseman said: “Our thoughts are with everyone involved in the bus collision in Highams Park this morning. We have support available to anyone affected by this incident and a full investigation is under way.”