Alps crash passengers to sue coach firm for damages

  • 24 May 2013
  • From the section UK
Scene of French Alps coach crash
Image caption The coach had been taking ski resort staff back to the UK

Some of the passengers injured in a fatal crash in the French Alps plan to sue the coach operator.

Three Britons were seriously injured in the crash, which killed Northumberland driver Maurice Wrightson, 63, near Alpe d'Huez on 16 April.

Irwin Mitchell Solicitors said it had been instructed to represent a number of passengers including 19-year-old Nicola Read, from Sheerness, Kent.

Coach operator TGM said: "Safety is at the forefront of our operations."

More than 50 people were on the coach when it crashed on a steep mountain road, which features 21 hairpin bends, and burst into flames.

'Absolute hell'

Several passengers escaped from the burning wreckage by jumping from the windows.

Clive Garner, of Irwin Mitchell, said. "While we do not yet know the cause of this latest tragic coach crash, we are determined that our clients receive the answers they want and the justice that they deserve.

"We will also ensure that all of our clients receive the support, medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ultimately the damages, that they need to help get their lives back on track."

Ms Read, who was treated at Grenoble Hospital following the incident, said: "We all simply want to know what happened and what can be done to ensure it doesn't happen again.

"The last month has been the most difficult time of my life and I would not want anyone to have to face what I've been through. It has been absolute hell."

Following the crash, French transport minister Frederic Cuvillier said Mr Wrightson let the coach hit rocks to slow down rather than risk it going over a precipice, showing "remarkable courage".

Classic Coaches was hired by a Brighton firm to carry seasonal staff back to the UK.

A spokeswoman for TGM, which owns Classic Coaches, said: "This was a tragic accident and we recognise the importance of trying to find out why it happened.

"We are working with the French authorities while they continue to investigate the incident, therefore, it would not be appropriate to speculate on the cause while investigations are still taking place.

"The vehicle involved in the accident was up-to-date with all of its service and MOT requirements."

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