Page last updated at 22:37 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 23:37 UK

Many hurt as open bus overturns

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Fifteen people had been on the upper deck of the bus when it overturned

Thirty people, including children, were injured when an open-top double decker bus overturned and two cars crashed in Dorset.

Passengers, including a two-month-old baby, were thrown from the top of the bus and some were trapped downstairs.

One woman described how the bus went on to two wheels "for a long time" before the crash on the Studland side of Poole Harbour.

A 43-year-old driver of a Porsche involved in the crash was arrested.

He was held on suspicion of dangerous driving and was later released on bail.

The fire service said 15 people had been on the upper deck of the Wilts and Dorset bus and eight on the lower deck when it crashed on Ferry Road at 1015 BST.

Thermal imaging

Eight people, including two adults and two children from the second car, a Volkswagen Golf, were airlifted to hospital in Dorchester. They have since been allowed home.

I had time to think 'this doesn't happen to me, this only happens in films'
Rachel Eveling
Passenger on the bus
Six people were taken to hospital in Poole, including the two-month-old baby boy and his grandparents - all have now been released.

A 61-year-old woman suffered a fractured arm.

The 61-year-old's daughter, Rachel Eveling, 41, of Alderbury, near Salisbury, was also on the bus and said they were both thrown out on to the ground.

"It sort of went on to two wheels," she said. "It was really like slow motion. It seemed to go on two wheels for a long time, and it wasn't clear whether it was going to fall over on its side.

"I had time to think 'this doesn't happen to me, this only happens in films'.

"Then it just went right over on its side and we were thrown out on to the ground."

Twenty other bus passengers were checked by paramedics at the nearby Knoll House Hotel, before continuing on their journey.

The bus on its side
People were airlifted to hospital but no-one was badly hurt
Steve Smith, of South Western Ambulance Service, said most casualties had suffered shoulder and leg injuries and no-one was in a life-threatening condition.

Dense heathland was checked using the coastguard helicopter's thermal imaging equipment to make sure no-one was missing, Dorset police said.

Sgt Nikki Burt said: "At this stage we don't know what has happened or why the accident has happened.

"Everyone involved today has been incredibly lucky. When I heard the reports I was expecting the worst.

"If it hadn't been for the soft landing on the verge, I think the injuries would have been a lot more serious."

Emergency helpline

She added: "I think the toppling over was slow as opposed to people being flung out and I think that is due to the skill of the driver."

The Sandbanks chain ferry was closed to enable emergency services to reach the scene, about a quarter-of-a-mile (0.4km) away, but was later reopened.

The Porsche involved in the crash
A Porsche was one of two cars involved in the crash

Chris Harris, Wilts and Dorset Bus Company spokesman, said the bus was the 74-seat number 50 service, travelling from Swanage to Bournemouth.

"Our thoughts are with people who are hurt. Investigations are taking place and we will cooperate fully with the emergency services," he added.

The B3351 was closed between Corfe Castle and Studland and the Swanage to Studland Road was closed at Ulwell.

All roads were reopened later on Thursday.

A helpline has been set up for worried members of the public who can call 0800 0560944.


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