2010 A66 Keswick coach accident
On Monday, 24 May 2010, a Honda Civic collided with a coach carrying children home from Keswick School on the A66 road in Cumbria, United Kingdom. Three people were killed and four were left seriously injured. Approximately thirty people sustained less severe injuries. The accident occurred very near Keswick in an accident hotspot.
The crash occurred on the A66 near Bassenthwaite Lake. This is a location near Keswick, Cumbria, UK. Eyewitnesses reported that the accident happened in a "hollow". Witnesses told the BBC that it was a "notorious spot" for accidents.
The accident happened when a coach swerved to avoid a car coming in the opposite direction on the lane of the road that the coach was travelling upon. This is a WS2 highway in highway engineering terms - it consists of two lanes on a carriageway, with one carrying traffic in each direction. The car, a grey Honda Civic, was on the wrong side of the road when it collided with the coach causing it to overturn. Three people - the Honda Civic's male driver, one male teenager and one female teenager - died. Many people were left with injuries - besides four seriously injured people, 25 were treated in hospital (with 10 retained overnight, 9 retained over two nights and the rest assessed and released). The coach was a 49-seater vehicle operated by J B Pickthall, and was transporting 35 schoolchildren home from school to Cockermouth and Whitehaven. The accident happened at 1547hrs BST. The collision resulted in the two vehicles involved overturning.
The outcome of the inquest was that the likelihood is that the Honda driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and the deaths were the "result of a tragic accident".
A number of local residents and school children were the first on scene to give assistance, followed by multiple emergency services' personnel and vehicles, including mountain rescue teams, fire tenders, fire officers' cars, police vehicles, six road emergency ambulances and some non-emergency ambulances, doctors' cars, two air ambulances and four RAF rescue helicopters. The injured people were taken to Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Preston A&E departments. The first receiving hospital was West Cumberland. A Red Cross assistance centre was opened in the nearby Braithwaite School where first aid and emotional support was provided. The A66 was closed by police until 0300hrs BST the next day (Tuesday, 25 May 2010). The diversion route was from the Crosthwaite roundabout via A591 to Bothel and on the A595 to Cockermouth.
Aftermath of the accident
Names of the deceased
The day after the crash (Tuesday, 25 May 2010), the national media announced the names of two of those killed in the accident.
- Chloe Walker (16 years old), a passenger on the coach, who was celebrating her 16th birthday on the day of the accident. A student.
- Kieran Goulding (15 years old), also a passenger on the coach. A student.
- Patrick Short (68 years old), the driver of the Honda Civic. A charity worker.
Counselling services, including educational psychologists, were provided at the school where the pupils on the coach attended (Keswick School). Michael Chapman, the headteacher of the school, said staff and pupils were "devastated" and "shocked", highlighting the need for support.
The local police force, Cumbria Constabulary, assigned Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson to the case. He said that the children in the minibus following the coach "went straight to the aid of their friends and colleagues and did an incredible job." The minibus was also carrying Keswick School students.
Ongoing medical attention
On Wednesday, 26 May 2010, 9 students (two of whom were seriously injured) were still in hospital. The driver was kept in hospital for one night.
A special commemorative school assembly was held on the day following the accident (Tuesday, 25 May 2010). Cumbria Constabulary advised people not to leave floral tributes at the scene of the accident (probably to prevent pedestrians from being hit by traffic). A memorial service was held on 30 June at Crosthwaite Church at Keswick to celebrate the lives of the deceased. Cash raised at the event, held at Hensingham Rugby League Club, will go towards a bench in memory of 15-year-old Kieran, who died in the Keswick bus crash. On 24 May 2011, there was a planned anniversary ceremony at the school to commemorate the tragic events of the previous year.
-  Three killed in school bus crash in Cumbria-Source-BBC News
-  Three killed in school bus crash-source-Weekly News.co.uk
- "Three dead in school bus crash". The Independent (London). 24 May 2010.
- "Two pupils and man killed in Cumbria bus crash named". BBC News. 25 May 2010.
- "Three killed in school bus crash".
- "In pictures: Cumbria school coach crash". BBC News. 25 May 2010.
-  Inquest Outcome
-  Fatal Cumbrian bus on correct side of road, Video Clip of the Crash-Source-BBC
-  Tributes to Cumbria coach crash teenagers-source BBC News