Page last updated at 00:53 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 01:53 UK

Girl killed in school coach crash as heavy snow hits UK

Strathclyde Police undated handout photo of Natasha Paton, 17, who was killed when her coach bound for the Alton Towers theme park plunged 10ft into a stream during a snowstorm
Natasha Paton died in the crash near Biggar in South Lanarkshire

Heavy snow and strong winds in parts of the UK have brought travel chaos to roads and cuts to power supplies.

Natasha Paton, 17, from Cleghorn, was killed when a school coach crashed on the A73 at Wiston, South Lanarkshire.

Meanwhile, 107 people have been stranded on an Edinburgh to Inverness train for six hours after it became stuck in a snowdrift in the Highlands.

Some 30,000 homes in Northern Ireland remain without power, but the number has dropped to about 4,500 in Scotland.

Temperatures have remained close to zero in much of Scotland, with the warmest conditions recorded in south-west England.

'Beloved daughter'

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for Wednesday night and early Thursday in Scotland for areas such as the Highlands, Grampian, Lothian and Borders.

There were also warnings of widespread icy roads in Northern Ireland, where Northern Ireland Electricity said around 100,000 customers had suffered power cuts in the past 24 hours.

map of region where crash happened
The conditions here are absolutely atrocious and the roads are very, very slippy
Crash eyewitness Bill Ward

Natasha's parents issued a statement in which they said they were "devastated" at the loss of their "beloved daughter", adding that she would "be greatly missed by all who knew her".

The school coach had been carrying 39 students from Lanark Grammar School, five members of staff and a driver when it left the road and finished on its side just after 0600 BST on Wednesday.

They had been due to travel to Alton Towers theme park, in Staffordshire.

Three other children were seriously injured and two people were airlifted to hospital in Glasgow.

NHS Lanarkshire said 44 people in total had received hospital treatment following the crash, 19 of whom remained in various hospitals around Lanarkshire and Glasgow.

The health board said all the patients were in a stable condition.

South Lanarkshire Council said its "thoughts and prayers" were with Natasha's family.

Strathclyde Police said the crash was being investigated but road conditions had been "horrendous" and snow "had a part to play".

Parent Susan Thornton, who chose not to allow her son Adam to go on the outing, questioned why the trip had gone ahead given the weather conditions.

She told the BBC News channel: "I was very surprised. It was midnight when I made the decision. When I woke it was clear that it had been snowing through the night."

Relief train

The remote location and snowy conditions hampered efforts to reach passengers after stuck on the Edinburgh to Inverness train.

It became stranded between Carrbridge and Slochd stations on Wednesday evening on one of the UK's highest railways, about six miles north of the Aviemore ski resort.

A Northern Constabulary spokesman said all the passengers were well but added that it "has been difficult to reach them because of the location".

First ScotRail said a snowplough had cleared the track and a four-coach relief train carrying food and water was being sent to the area to collect those on board.

The company said it expected to get the passengers to Inverness by 0330 BST.

A spokesman said: "People have been on board for about six hours - they are tired and fed up, but the driver has said no-one is in distress."

Superintendent Iain Murray of Strathclyde Police on the bus crash

Earlier on Wednesday, police said they had rescued 300 people from vehicles, including a school bus, stuck in snow on the Glenshane Pass, near Londonderry.

Ch Insp Steven Cargin, of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said the rescue operation had involved police, mountain rescue and coastguard workers.

Motorists were taken to Dungiven Leisure Centre, in Derry, only for a power failure to strike, forcing them to relocate to nearby Limavady and Maghera.

Some had spent 10 hours in their vehicles without food and drink.

Jackie O'Hagan, who was one of those rescued, described the experience as being akin to "Armageddon".

Police said no-one had been injured in the operation, although nine people had refused to leave their vehicles.

Officers said driving conditions across Northern Ireland were "treacherous" and advised motorists to slow down. A severe weather warning lasting until 0800 BST on Thursday has been issued for icy roads.

In other developments:

  • Vehicles were stuck in various places in Aberdeenshire overnight on Tuesday
  • Some roads were difficult or impassable in the Borders, and in central Edinburgh two men had a lucky escape after a tree fell on their car
  • The East Coast Main Line, which has been closed between Edinburgh and Berwick-Upon-Tweed, will resume on Thursday with minor timetable changes
  • There were no ferry services between Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • Flights to and from Belfast International Airport have been subject to cancellations and delays
  • Operation Stack, where lorries headed for France are parked on parts of the M20, was put into practice by police in Kent after bad weather hit ferry crossings.

FORECAST FROM BBC WEATHER

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UK forecast for 27/08/2014

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SEE ALSO
Thousands without power overnight
01 Apr 10 |  Scotland
Blizzard warning over heavy snow
30 Mar 10 |  Scotland
Bad weather causing NI disruption
31 Mar 10 |  Northern Ireland
Weather warning issued to drivers
30 Mar 10 |  Tyne

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The Sun Schoolgirl killed in blizzard crash - 43 mins ago
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Mirror.co.uk More weather misery on its way - 3 hrs ago
Times Online Girl dies as weather warnings ignored - 10 hrs ago
Guardian.co.uk Teenager killed as school trip coach crashes in heavy snow - 14 hrs ago


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