Page last updated at 17:56 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Van driver dies in crash with bus

Bus crash
The cause of the accident was not connected with the weather

A man has died and 10 people have been injured in a head-on collision between a van and a double decker bus in Devon.

The driver of the van died at the scene of the crash which happened on the A379 near Modbury, at about 1130 GMT.

Rescuers had to smash the windows of the bus to remove the injured passengers, many of whom were elderly.

A total of 16 people - some with severe head and spinal injuries - had to be pulled from the wreckage of First Devon and Cornwall's 93 service.

Two air ambulances were scrambled to ferry the most seriously injured to hospital in Plymouth.

First Devon and Cornwall's commercial director Simon Newport said his firm had begun an investigation into the crash which happened on the run between Plymouth, Kingsbridge and Dartmouth.

The dead man is believed to be in his 50s and from the Plymouth area.

'Difficult operation'

The injured passengers included a 91-year-old woman and three people in their 70s.

The 91-year-old suffered bruising and cuts to her arm, a 70-year-old woman had neck, chest and throat injuries, a 74-year-old man had bruising to his shoulder and a 76-year-old woman had neck and facial injuries.

Those taken to hospital also included the 29-year-old bus driver, who suffered bruising to his knee and chest and cuts to his hand, a 38-year-old woman and a 53-year-old woman who both had facial injuries and an 18-year-old woman who had a suspected dislocated shoulder.

A police spokesman said the accident was not caused by the weather. The road would remain closed while accident investigators worked and the vehicles were removed.

Watch commander Nigel Toms, from Modbury fire station, said that it was a very difficult operation to remove the casualties from the bus.

He said: "We had to put through some of the windows to remove some of the casualties on spinal boards.

"There are a number of people who were injured on the bus and also distressed."

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the accident to contact them.



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