Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Cornwall coach crash was 'horrific', say passengers

The crash scene
One woman died at the scene and the other after being taken to hospital

Passengers on board a coach which crashed in Cornwall, killing two women and injuring nearly 50 people, have described the incident as "horrific".

The coach is thought to have skidded on sheet ice and rolled on to its side at Townshend, near Hayle.

It was returning from a trip to see Christmas lights in nearby Mousehole when it crashed at 2215 GMT on Tuesday.

Passenger Ann Ellis, from Illogan, said everyone on board was "really shaken" by the incident.

One of the women killed was pronounced dead at the scene. The other is believed to have died after being taken to hospital.

Derek Smith, who lives near the scene of the accident, offered first aid to some of the passengers. He said he got to the scene just at the first ambulance arrived.

He said: "I got to the coach and there were just people everywhere, milling around in a state of shock."

The roads were so icy, I heard a cracking noise and all of a sudden we'd turned over and then I don't remember any more
Charles Parker

The 47 injured bus passengers were taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, which put its major incident plan into force to deal with the casualties.

Describing the crash, Ms Ellis, 60, said: "All I can remember is a big bang and we just went over and I got trapped under somebody else, it was difficult to breathe but two gentlemen dragged me out.

"I'm really shaken, I think we all are.

"It was horrific. I was on the ground with my friend and they were still pulling people out. Lots of people walked away, others had to be helped."

Charles Parker, from St Agnes, who suffered head and leg injuries in the crash, said: "The roads were so icy, I heard a cracking noise and all of a sudden we'd turned over and then I don't remember any more.

"I remember later being helped out of the coach [through] a window. We were close to a house and they took most of the people in there. Then helicopters turned up and took us to Treliske."

The 75-year-old said: "I'm not too bad, my leg hurts more than anything. It could have been a lot worse, but it was very frightening."

More than 40 firefighters, plus about 20 police officers, ambulance crews, coastguards and search and rescue team members were involved in the operation.

The first police car at the scene also lost control on the ice and crashed into the overturned coach. The two officers inside the vehicle were not injured.



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23 Dec 09 |  Cornwall

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