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Last Updated: Monday, 12 April, 2004, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Death crash bus 'failed to stop'
the bus
The bus was on a regular run
A bus which ploughed into a crowd of people killing four, failed to stop at a pelican crossing, police have said.

Officers from Lincolnshire are now looking at whether mechanical failure or driver error was to blame for the incident near the town of Ingoldmells.

The victims were Richard Rhodes, 32, his wife Paula, 30, from Mansfield, Notts, a boy aged five and his mother.

A man aged 41 and a four-month-old baby, thought to be the woman's husband and child, are both critically ill.

The injured man and baby were taken to Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, but the baby was later transferred to Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.

It is too early to say why (it happened) but we are looking at a possible mechanical defect and/or driver error
Inspector Les Parker

Mr and Mrs Rhodes and the five-year-old boy, to whom they were not related, were all pronounced dead at the scene.

The second woman, who was aged around 30 and is believed to be the boy's mother, died later in hospital after being trapped under the bus.

A number of other people suffered minor injuries and shock.

Police Inspector Les Parker said: "There is an awful lot of work to be done to establish what happened.

"At this stage, it is clear that for some reason, the bus failed to stop on the approach to a pelican crossing and collided with a BMW car and people crossing the road.

"It is too early to say why, but we are looking at a possible mechanical defect and/or driver error."

He added: "This incident shows how a pleasant day at the coast can so quickly end in tragedy.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with those close to the deceased and the injured."

Police have interviewed the driver of the Volvo bus, a 50-year-old man from Louth, as well as a number of witnesses.

The bus, owned and run by Lincolnshire RoadCar Ltd, was on a regular service between Chapel St Leonards and Ingoldmells.

The accident happened outside the car park near the Fantasy Island pleasure park at around 1700 BST on Sunday.

Police Inspector Dick Holmes later dismissed suggestions that cars parked on double yellow lines near Fantasy Island had played a part in the collision.

He said: "So far, from all that we know, the parking of cars on Sea Lane made no contribution to this tragedy whatsoever."

John Woodward, the chairman of Blue Anchor Leisure, which runs the theme park, said he had expressed concerns about illegal parking to police five times over the weekend.

He said: "We have a massive traffic problem outside Fantasy Island, with motorists parking on double yellow lines and the grass verges,"

"The parked cars cause congestion and they blind oncoming traffic. If someone was crossing the road, you'd have trouble seeing them."

Four dead, six hurt in bus crash
11 Apr 04  |  England
Bus crash victims fight for lives
12 Apr 04  |  England

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