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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
'Delayed' ambulance investigated
An investigation has been launched into why an ambulance took more than an hour to arrive at the scene of a serious accident in Torrington, Devon.

One person died and three were injured, two of them seriously. One was treated for head injuries, the other for burns. A member of the fire services said a properly crewed ambulance arrived one hour 15 mins after the call was made.

Southern Western Ambulance service said it sent the appropriate response to the initial information it had received.

Chris Wyatt from the ambulance service said it subsequently turned out that the incident was more serious.

'Dissemination' issues

The accident, involving two cars, happened on the A386 near Beam House in Torrington at 2200 BST on Monday.

The police sent at least five officers travelling in five vehicles and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service sent 18 firefighters in three vehicles.

The 20-year-old driver of a grey Ford Fiesta, which caught fire, died at the scene. His male passenger was airlifted by an RAF helicopter from RMB Chivenor to hospital in Salisbury, where he remains in a critical, but stable, condition with serious burns.

The driver of the red Mitsubishi Colt who travelling towards Bideford, was airlifted to Derriford Hospital with serious head injuries. He has now been released.

In a statement, the service said it received the call to attend the accident at 2159 BST.

"Although a response was dispatched to the scene immediately, South Western Ambulance Service is currently conducting a preliminary investigation in relation to internal information dissemination issues, which were highlighted with this particular incident."

The Fire Brigade Union is also investigating the incident.


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