School bus in Darlington railway bridge collision

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Media captionInsp Ed Turner of Durham Police said the bus was taking pupils to Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

Twelve people were taken to hospital after the roof came off a school bus as it hit a railway bridge in Darlington.

The crash happened at about 08:45 BST on Neasham Road, near the town's football ground.

The yellow double-decker bus was taking about 50 students to Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in the town.

One girl suffered a broken collar bone and 10 other pupils, along with the driver, suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Everyone was later discharged from hospital.

College principal Tim Fisher said: "This has been a lucky escape.

"I went down to the scene and, like everybody else, I was shocked, surprised and most of all relieved by the fact that all of the people travelling on the bus had walked away from the accident.

"Some of them have subsequently been taken to hospital with what have been described to me as minor injuries but the vast majority walked away shaken but absolutely uninjured."

'Screams and crying'

Caitlin Allen, 17, from Billingham, had been on the top deck of the bus when the accident happened. She suffered a broken collar bone and minor head injuries.

Image caption Caitlin Allen suffered a broken collar bone and minor head injuries

She said: "A few people were like, 'we're not going to fit under', but kind of joking, expecting him to stop and he just didn't stop.

"The next thing I knew, the roof was coming off the bus.

"I didn't duck at all, I was frozen, I remember hearing screams and people crying.

"I'd been hit on the head by part of the bus that had fallen down and blood was in my eyes and I could barely see anything.

"I had to try and fit under a bar that had gone across the staircase and half trapped us in."

The bus had been picking up pupils from villages near Darlington and was about a mile from the college when it hit the bridge.

Mr Fisher said: "The bus doesn't normally travel on that road and part of the investigation will be why the bus took that route.

"We have spoken to the emergency services and the investigation is in the police's hands.

"We are interested to find out why this happened and to ensure it does not happen again."

He praised people living near the crash scene who went to help.

Durham Police said there was only minor damage to the bridge. It was closed for a short time for a structural assessment but reopened later.

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