Eight passengers injured in M3 coach crash after driver lost consciousness at the wheel


Eight passengers injured in M3 coach crash after driver lost consciousness at the wheel
Hampshire Police said driver 'became unwell and lost consciousness'Coach overturned into the verge on the side of the motorway
Accident happened southbound one mile from Fleet services in HampshireNo passengers thought to have been seriously hurt in crash at 6pm

By
Mark Duell

PUBLISHED:

19:44 GMT, 6 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

04:29 GMT, 7 January 2013

The driver of a coach that overturned on the motorway yesterday lost consciousness at the wheel, police said.

Eight people were taken to hospital following the crash on the M3 southbound about one mile from Fleet's Welcome Break service station in Hampshire at 6pm.

One of the eight hospitalised passengers suffered a fractured bone and the other seven received minor injuries.

Overturned: The coach is seen in the ditch after it left the M3 near Fleet services. Eight people are in hospital

Overturned: The coach is seen in the ditch after it left the M3 near Fleet services. Eight people are in hospital

Rescue effort: The scene where a coach carrying 26 passengers overturned while travelling on the M3

Rescue effort: The scene where a coach carrying 26 passengers overturned while travelling on the M3

On the scene: Rescue workers tend to the coach on the M3. The accident happened at around 6pm

On the scene: Rescue workers tend to the coach on the M3. The accident happened at around 6pm

The 40-seater Dutch-registered coach
was carrying 26 passengers on their way to set sail from Southampton,
Hampshire Police said.

All the passengers were Dutch nationals, a force spokeswoman said.

Speaking at the accident scene, Sgt
Lyndon Barrett told ITV News: 'There were 26 passengers on board, plus
the driver. The driver had become unwell and lost consciousness and the
vehicle left the carriageway.'

He added: 'Passengers have been conveyed to hotels in Southampton where they will meet a cruise ship tomorrow.

'The carriageway is likely to be closed for several hours whilst recovery work is taking place.'

Location: The coach crash happened on the M3 southbound near Fleet services at around 6pm tonight

Location: The coach crash happened on the M3 southbound near Fleet services at around 6pm tonight

Treatment: Ambulances from Surrey and Hampshire went to the scene and the five patients were taken to the North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke (pictured). None of them were in a serious condition

Treatment: Ambulances from Surrey and Hampshire went to the scene and the five patients were taken to the North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke (pictured). None of them were in a serious condition

The coach was left lying on its side in bracken after veering off the motorway.

The motorway was closed to allow the injured to be taken to hospital and to enable police to recover the overturned vehicle.

Ambulances from Surrey and Hampshire
went to the scene and the injured passengers were taken to the
North Hampshire Hospital in Basingstoke.

An emergency BASICS (British
Association for Immediate Care) ‘flying doctor’ was also scrambled to
the crash site in case there had been any more serious casualties.

One lane of the southbound
carriageway has since reopened but drivers were being advised to avoid
the area because of long tailbacks.

The M3 motorway runs for almost 60 miles
between Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, to Southampton, Hampshire. Sections
were first constructed in 1971 before it was eventually completed in
1995.