Glasgow & West Scotland

23 people in hospital after coach rolls off the A83 Rest and Be Thankful

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Media captionThe coach carrying 51 people rolled down an embankment

Twenty-three people are being treated in hospital after a tour coach came off the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll and overturned.

The coach, owned and operated by Lochs and Glens Holidays, is thought to have been blown off the road by a gust of wind and came to rest near a small loch at about 14:10.

A total of 51 people were on board.

The 23 being treated at three NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde hospitals are all said to be in a stable condition.

About 20 others were described as "walking wounded".

Road Policing Inspector Adam McKenzie said: "A tour bus which was heading through Argyll was struck by a very strong gust of wind which unfortunately blew it on to the muddy verge, causing the bus to flip on its side and roll down the hill coming to a rest at the side of Loch Restil."

Ch Insp Fraser Candlish added: "This has clearly been a terrifying experience for all of those involved and officers have been working closely with our partners to provide support to those effected and ensure everyone's safety.

"All 52 people on board the coach have been accounted for and we are currently working to ensure those who have not been taken to hospital are transported to a suitable location to spend the night.

"Inquiries are ongoing to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the incident, however early indications would suggest that the high winds may have been a factor.

"We are currently working to recover the vehicle and reopen the road."

Police said a multi-agency response had been "critical" in the aftermath of the crash.

Officers were joined at the scene by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the Ambulance Service, Argyll and Bute Council, the Royal Navy and the Mountain Rescue team.

BBC presenter Euan Mcllwraith, who was at the scene shortly after the crash, said emergency services cut the side off the coach to help passengers inside.

"Although there have been injuries, and serious injuries, these people are very, very lucky," he told BBC News.

Some of the more seriously injured passengers were taken to hospital by Royal Navy helicopter.

They are being treated at the Southern General, Western Infirmary and Royal Alexandra hospitals.

An RAF helicopter from Lossiemouth was also at the scene along with a mountain search and rescue team. The A83 is closed and a lengthy diversion is in place, along the A82.

A spokeswoman for Lochs and Glens said: "We are providing all necessary support for those passengers who were on board and the relatives of those who have been injured.

"The driver and the company are co-operating fully with the police investigation to establish the exact cause."

Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: "Scottish ministers have been kept fully informed of this serious incident across the afternoon and our immediate thoughts are with the passengers who have been transported to hospital.

"The emergency services have been working closely with helicopters from both Prestwick and Lossiemouth as well as mountain rescue teams and a rest centre has been set up in Three Villages Hall in Arrochar to help the walking wounded."

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