Tyne & Wear

Stanley bus crash driver praises rescuers

Stanley bus crash
Image caption Paul Stephenson was driving the yellow double-decker bus

The driver of one of two buses which collided head-on, injuring 28 children, has praised rescuers who freed him from the wreckage.

Paul Stephenson suffered serious leg injures when his double-decker was in collision with a single-decker bus in Stanley, County Durham on Tuesday.

The two drivers and several children, including a 12-year-old boy with facial injuries, remain in hospital.

Mr Stephenson, 54, from Annfield Plain, said rescue crews did a "great job".

Thirteen ambulances were sent to the crash scene at the junction of Shield Row Lane and the A693.

The pupils, aged 11-18, were from St Bede's Catholic School, Lanchester and Tanfield School.

'Difficult circumstances'

Mr Stephenson, who has worked for bus company Go North East for more than 15 years, issued a statement from his bed at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

He said: "I'm really grateful to the firefighters, police and paramedics who came to my assistance. They did a great job in difficult circumstances.

"And I'd like to thank everyone for their best wishes and support."

Officers from Durham Police are in the process of interviewing those involved and a number of key witnesses.

Image caption Twenty-eight children were injured

A force spokesman said: "The 12-year-old boy from Tanfield Comprehensive School remains in the RVI hospital, where he is being treated for serious facial injuries.

"Both drivers, including the 27-year-old driver of the single decker vehicle who is from Newton Aycliffe, remain in hospital.

"A number of children also remain in hospital with others being discharged last night and this morning."

Head teachers Neville Harrison, of St Bede's and Graeme Lloyd, of Tanfield School, said their school communities had been "shocked" by the crash.

St Bede's has nearly 1,500 pupils aged between 11 and 18 and became an academy in 2012.

Specialising in science and engineering, Tanfield School takes pupils from 11 to 16.

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