Stanley school bus crash: 28 children taken to hospital
Twenty-eight children were taken to hospital, one with severe injuries, after two school buses crashed head-on in County Durham.
Police said about 50 children and two bus drivers were involved in the crash in Stanley at about 08:22 BST.
A 54-year-old driver and a 12-year-old boy were seriously hurt and 28 casualties suffered minor injuries.
The pupils, aged 11-18, were from St Bede's Catholic School, Lanchester, and Tanfield School.
Thirteen ambulances were sent to the scene of the accident at the junction of Shield Row Lane and the A693.
The 12-year-old boy from Tanfield School was flown to hospital by air ambulance with severe facial injuries.
His condition was stable on arrival at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, the Great North Air Ambulance said.
A 54-year-old bus driver from Stanley was trapped, but later freed and airlifted to the RVI with serious injuries.
The driver of the other bus, a 27-year-old man from Newton Aycliffe, was "moderately" hurt and taken to the University Hospital of North Durham.
All three will remain in hospital overnight.
Some children were taken to a nearby pub where they were met by teachers from their schools.
Surrounding roads were closed for eight hours.
A 15-year-old pupil from St Bede's, identified as Jennifer, said: "At first I just thought the bus was stopping really fast and then obviously we collided with the other bus.
"There was a girl at the back and she'd bust her nose and smacked her head off the post. We had to try and get off as quickly as we could."
Oxhill pub manager Christine Ellison, said the children had been "very distressed" and shocked.
"The first I knew of it was the sirens that were going past," she said. "All I could see was children sitting on the grass at the top, so I came out and walked up and that's when I saw... the two buses together and all the children lying crying."
Maureen Davison, who runs a fast food van near the site of the crash, saw it happen.
She said: "I thought I was seeing things. That was it, great big crash. The bang was terrific.
"My son got out of his car. He ran out and got all the bairns off the bus. They were all screaming blue murder."
Head teachers Neville Harrison, of St Bede's and Graeme Lloyd, of Tanfield School, said their school communities had been "shocked" by the crash.
In a joint statement they said: "We are very mindful of the injuries suffered by some of those involved and we will continue to offer pupils our help and support.
"This will include working with the local authority to ensure specialist counselling is available to anyone who would like it."
St Bede's has nearly 1,500 pupils aged between 11 and 18 and became an academy in 2012. The school says its Catholic Christian ethos "underpins everything we do".
Specialising in science and engineering, Tanfield School takes pupils from 11 to 16. It has had a multimillion-pound refurbishment after a large fire in 1998.
Caroline O'Neill, head of education at Durham County Council, said: "We are working very closely with both school communities to ensure all support needed is offered to the young people involved and to their families.
"We are also liaising with our partners in the police and will assist in their investigation in any way we can."