Accident on m4 today
Air ambulance takes driver to hospital after coach carrying 57 passengers - mainly foreign students - crashes on the M4 in Newport
The scene of the coach crash on the M4
A driver and a passenger have been taken to hospital after a coach carrying a large group of foreign students crashed on the M4.
Pictures from the scene showed severe damage to the front of the Caledonian Travel coach.
And one of the first people on the scene told of his disgust that he was one of very few people who tried to help despite the obvious scale of the accident.
The driver of the bus was taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea by air ambulance, while a passenger on the bus was taken to the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff.
A further nine patients – one with potentially serious injuries and eight with minor injuries – have been taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital.
Police said the coach was carrying 57 passengers, mainly made up of a group of foreign students.
A rest centre has been set up by Newport Council to cater for the group.
The motorway was closed in both directions between junction 24 and 28, but two lanes have now reopened.
As of 12.30pm, tailbacks from the closure were stretching back six miles.
Witness Davina Payne told ITV News that the crash had wrecked a passenger coach and spread debris across the road.
“The whole of the front of the coach had been taken off - there was mangled and twisted metal everywhere. There was a white car in the fast lane at a right-angle across the motorway.”
Liam Llewellyn, from Caldicot, told Capital FM South Wales he was on his way home when he arrived at the crash site.
The 23 year old said he was shocked that he was one of just four people who offered assistance, despite a clear large number of victims involved
He said: "It was horrific, my first instinct was to call 999, I managed to get thought to emergency services, but the worst bit was everyone just appeared to stay in their vehicles, and no one was willing to help.
"As I was on the phone to 999, I asked them do they want me to get out of the vehicle and assess so then at that point I went to the bus to see the driver, who was in a bad state.
"There appeared to be a lot of students on the bus and our first thought was to get them off. Because the car had actually hit the central reservation, the lady in the vehicle wasn’t being attended, so I assessed her and she was ok, but obviously quite distressed.
"I don't want to go into details of what I saw, but it was something I've never seen before in my life."
Of the students on board, he said: "They didn't speak much English, they appeared to be on tour, but it was just making sure they got to safety as well, get their belongings off, and assessing them, the hand gestures, asking 'Are you OK?'
"I've always been brought up in an environment where you need to look after people and they'll look after you and I like to think that if I was ever in a situation like that, simple people would come and help me as well
"But on reflection today, as we were getting the students off the bus, in excess of fifty of them, people were then just driving over the glass to get
through because it was more important to get through than the safety of other people
"The fact that only four people got out of their vehicles to help such a significantly large group, was quite horrific.
"The fact that people were just able to come and stand on the motorway, on their bikes in shorts and t-shirts taking photos and going 'What's happening' looking for the gossip, rather than doing something, is a disgusting thing."
Motorists took to social media site Twitter to share updates on the incident.
Raphael Kingsley described the accident as ‘terrible.
Liz Brookes meanwhile said: “Awful accident on #M4 heading East out of #BrynGlas tunnel, coach and cars involved, imagine road will be closed for a while.”
Public transport is expected to be seriously affected.
Newport bus told commuters: “Due to an accident the M4 is closed between J24 & J28 approx. X30 diverted via Cardiff Rd inbound & outbound.”
Inter-city coach service Greyhound told customers: “Accident on M4 Newport area causing some delays at the moment.”
Gwent Police said: "Gwent Police received a call just before 9.30am reporting a serious road traffic collision on the M4 between junction 25 and 26 eastbound.
"The collision involved a bus and, at this stage, we believe one car and one lorry.
"The driver of the bus was injured and has been taken by air ambulance to Morriston Hospital.
"Two passengers on the bus that were injured, both adults, have been taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
"None of these casualties is in a life threatening condition.
"Ten other passengers from the bus have gone to the Royal Gwent Hospital described as walking wounded – eight students and two adults..
"The bus was carrying students visiting from abroad – 57 passengers in total.
"Our partners at Newport City Council have set up a rest centre to cater for them."
Chief Inspector Paul Evans said: “We appreciate the closure is causing problems for motorists however the decision to do so is never taken lightly and we fully recognise the impact this has on motorists as well as the communities affected by diversions.”
“We need to ensure we investigate every such collision thoroughly gathering all evidence possible and also ensuring the safety of everyone involved as well as other motorists who will be using this road once it’s reopened.”
"We are grateful for the understanding and patience shown by drivers and their passengers today."
“Motorists are advised of possible delays and are advised to avoid the area if possible.”
Cardiff-based tour leader Jim Cowan said he had given the students a guided tour of the city yesterday and that they had come from Buenos Aires to travel around Britain on a two-week trip.
He said: "They had travelled from London to Ireland, before coming to South Wales. They were meant to be on their way to Bath today. They were planning to visit Stonehenge before heading back to London.
"For many of the students and the teachers, it was their first time in the UK. They were a super group and very intelligent. They were all teenagers, probably about 15 or 16. There were about 50 students and five teachers.
"I was very upset to hear about the crash. My first thought was that I hope everybody is ok. I was on the coach yesterday - it was barely a week old."
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