“A LOT of people were screaming, they were shouting like they were going to die, the dust came through as if the bridge was going to collapse.”

These are the words of 14-year-old Jake Coates who was on the school bus which crashed into a railway bridge in Winchester shortly after 8am today (Thursday).

As reported, a Stagecoach double-decker bus carrying 72 school pupils smashed into the bridge on Well House Lane, completely ripping the roof off.

Hampshire Police confirmed 15 pupils sustained injuries, three of them were deemed serious.

Ten patients were treated by paramedics at the scene, while five required hospital treatment.

Describing the incident, year 10 pupil Jake Coates said: “The first thing I was thinking, had anyone been crushed on the top of the bus or anything really bad had happened up on the top.

“When we got out of the bus, I could see people jumping out of the back windows and workers from nearby were catching people who were jumping out the back.

“It was quite scary, I was really shocked, I didn’t know if anyone was still inside the bus, trapped.

“A lot of people were screaming, they were shouting like they were going to die, the dust came through as if the bridge was going to collapse.”

He said some of his friends had suffered cuts to their legs and one to their top.

Jake said the bus was being driven by a new driver but he had not been going fast.

He continued: “The bus came this route today because it was a couple of minutes late, it might have been 10 minutes late, so it took a different... tried to take a shortcut, which didn’t go well.”

The driver of the bus has not been arrested but has spoken to police and given their account of what took place.

Speaking about destruction, Incident Commander Inspector Andy Tester from the Road Policing Unit said: “It does show that there must have been quite a significant impact between the bus and the bridge parapet and that has completely removed the roof front to back and that does take a degree of force.

“There are various systems in the bus that will tell us how fast the bus was going, we believe there was CCTV in the bus that will give us vital information about what happened in the immediate moments before this crash.”

Inspector Tester said that it “was lucky” that that were no fatalities in the incident.

He added: “For all the emergency services from ambulance and police that turned up initially it was a very difficult scene.”

Daily Echo:

Parents and students involved were receiving support from Hampshire County Council’s education psychology team.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Earlier this morning, a Stagecoach double decker bus, contracted by the County Council for home to school transport, collided with a railway bridge in Wellhouse Lane, Kings Worthy.

"The bus was carrying students to Henry Beaufort School in Harestock.

"Families have been notified. We are unable to confirm any other details at the current time other than to state that, thankfully, there are no fatalities.

"County Council officers are providing all support to the school as needed including support from our education psychology team to help students and staff to deal with any trauma they may experience.

"Wellhouse Lane is currently closed to all traffic.”

Headteacher of Henry Beaufort School added: “This is a distressing incident and we are extremely relieved it was not more serious.

"With the help of Hampshire County Council's home to school transport and educational psychology teams we will be supporting all the students involved and their families.

"I do not want to speculate on the circumstances leading up to the incident but our thoughts go out to all those affected."

Stagecoach confirmed it was undertaking an internal investigation into the incident.