Developing

Three Dead After Bestival Coach Crash

Police are investigating how a coach returning from the Bestival music festival on the Isle of Wight crashed in Surrey, leaving three people dead, including the coach driver, and all 50 survivors injured.

Ambulance officials said a total of 50 patients, some of whom had serious injuries, were taken to hospitals across the region.

The coach veered off the road and hit a large oak tree on an embankment of the northbound side of the A3 near Hindhead.

The accident happened at 11.50pm on Monday night between the northern end of the Hindhead tunnel and the exit for Thursley.

Inspector Richard Mallett, speaking at the scene to Sky News, said: "The bodies (were) trapped inside the vehicle. As you can imagine it (was) a very delicate operation to remove them."

Two of the dead, believed to have been passengers, were taken away by a private ambulance at around midday.

The third victim was the coach driver, who has been named locally as 63-year-old Colin Daulby.

The coach is believed to have been travelling for about one hour on Monday night when the crash happened.

The vehicle has now been taken away from the scene and the A3 reopened.

David Hannell, boss of tour firm Merseypride Travel, said that the driver was semi-retired and had been with the company for six months.

He said: "Myself and the company offer our heartfelt sympathy to the families of all those involved.

"We ourselves are devastated by the news and will cooperate fully with the police and other authorities to determine the cause of this tragedy."

Mr Hannell said the police had not told him anything and that "nobody seems to know what's happened".

He said a parent of one of the passengers had called him at 4am to say that his son and girlfriend survived but that nobody seemed to know what had happened because "they were all asleep".

Insp Mallett added: "We don't think the road conditions or weather were factors."

Footage from a nearby CCTV point is expected to be examined by investigators.

One passenger on the coach was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital with "life-changing injuries".

Other passengers were taken to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey, St George's Hospital in Tooting, King's College Hospital in London, Frimley Park Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.

Some survivors were unconscious when retrieved from the site. A number of the injured have since been released from hospital.

Waverley Council set up a crisis centre for emergency staff and the British Red Cross gave assistance.

The charity said: "In response to the coach crash in Surrey we deployed volunteers and two ambulances to manage a rest centre and assist A&E."

Concerned relatives took to Twitter to announce their thoughts.

Twitter user @jaycoso tweeted: "My cousin was on that coach, broke is jaw an arm, and he's lucky, 3 people confirmed dead."

Another Twitter user, @FayJohnstone, said: "Devastated that my Dans been in the coach crash in Surrey.

"He's very very shook up. In a neck brace and lots of cuts & bruises. He's alive, that's the main thing xxxxx."