Woman dies and 19 injured in Cambridgeshire minibus crash

Image caption,
The minibus overturned in a collision with a car near St Ives in Cambridgeshire

A woman in her 80s has died in a minibus crash which left 19 other people injured.

The bus overturned in the crash, also involving a car, near the villages of Woodhurst and Bluntisham in Cambridgeshire, at 16:51 GMT on Thursday.

The East of England Ambulance Service said the woman died at the scene.

Eighteen of the Mercedes minibus passengers, who were all aged between 60 and 80, were taken to hospital.

Two people are in a critical condition and a further 10 remain in hospital with serious injuries.

The driver of the Volkswagen, a man in his 70s, is also seriously injured in hospital.

Image source, Magpas
Image caption,
A team from Magpas air ambulance attended the incident

The B1040 Somersham Road was closed for more than 12 hours for investigations to take place.

The force said some of those taken to hospital were "seriously injured".

The Mercedes minibus is believed to be from SMS X Trav in Towcester, Northamptonshire.

A company spokeswoman said: "It's part of a police investigation and nobody is available to comment."

The ambulance service said it sent 10 ambulances, a rapid response vehicle, the Hazardous Area Response Team and two air ambulances to the scene.

At the scene

Dotty McLeod, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Here on Friday morning, there is debris strewn all over the verges on one side of this junction where the B1040 Somersham Road meets Bluntisham Heath Road and the Wheatsheaf Road.

You can see, lying in the grass, broken glass, broken bits of plastic, twisted pieces of metal and even a pair of spectacles lying in the mud.

Police were at the scene earlier but all vehicles have now been recovered and the road closures have been lifted.

Ryan Barnes was passing the scene on Thursday evening and said he stopped to see if he could help.

He said he saw the minibus on its side and said people were very distressed.

"We were just trying to reassure them that the [emergency] services were on their way and to try to stay as calm as possible as there was help coming," he said.

"I was just doing what everyone should do, I believe."

Image source, Terry Harris
Image caption,
The road reopened at about 06:00 GMT

Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for improvements to be made at the junction, set up after Thursday's crash.

The owner of a cleaning service, based 500m from the junction, said it was not the first time there had been a crash at the crossroads.

"We did hear a helicopter a while after [the crash] but I didn't think any more [of it] because accidents regularly happen up there," he said.

Image caption,
The crash happened near the villages of Woodhurst and Bluntisham

Cambridgeshire County Council said it would be inappropriate for for it to comment on the crash while the police investigation was ongoing.

But it added safety on the county's roads was a priority and "work is already under way at this junction to see if improvements can be made".

Image caption,
Emergency services remain at the scene of the crash in rural Cambridgeshire

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