04 September 2007

National Express Coach Crash

Further details are emerging into the National Express coach crash within the southbound service area of Newport Pagnel Services on the M1 in Buckinghamshire yesterday at 1600hrs.

Veolia Birmingham-operated National Express Service 777 (Birmingham-Stansted Airport), a Scania/Irizar PB (YN55 PXC) hit a high kerb when pulling into Newport Pagnel Services at some speed, resulting in the well-loaded vehicle tipping onto its offside and colliding with a tree and lamp post where it came to rest.

One of the 36 people on board the coach commented to BBC News journalists that the driver had been "all over the place" for some time and that this prompted her to put her seat belt on a few moments before the crash took place. Police described the scene that met then as "utter devastation". 5 people were seriously injured, one of which being the driver, who was also breath-tested at the scene and arrested under suspicion of Drink-Driving and Dangerous Driving; he was air-lifted to hospital where he was afforded an armed guard.

This is the second time in 9 months that a National Express liveried vehicle has made national headlines by being involved in a very serious incident resulting in the vehicle tipping onto its side. Unlike the incident in January, the factors surrounding the causal factor in this latest accident is well assumed: from the trail of diesel on the road and the reports of people on board the bus, the driver is presumed to have been at the wheel of the vehicle with unacceptable levels of alcohol in his body. Calls for the Company's entire fleet of Irizar PB-bodied Scanias (Coach of the Year 2004) have not been made, unlike the very new Neoplan Skyliners in January.