Eight injured as Swansea University bus hits railway bridge

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Media captionSwansea bus crash: 'It was like a tin opener took the top off'

Eight people have been injured and a man has been arrested after a bus bound for Swansea University crashed into a railway bridge.

Two people have been seriously hurt and another has been airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Emergency services remain at Neath Road, Swansea, after they were called to the crash just before 09:40 GMT.

A 63-year-old man has been arrested and the bus company, First Cymru, said a full investigation had been launched.

Five men went to Swansea's Morriston Hospital and are in a stable condition, according to Swansea Bay University Health Board.

Image caption The bus has now been towed away
Image caption The roof of the bus could be seen on the railway tracks

Two of the men have "serious injuries", one with head injuries and the other with chest and facial injuries. The other three have "less serious fracture injuries".

Two other people were treated at Neath Port Talbot Hospital's minor injuries unit and have now been discharged, while another person was airlifted to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff with life-threatening injuries.

A number of other people were assessed at the scene.

The height restriction on the bridge is 3.3m (11ft) but the sign was dislodged in the collision, according to Network Rail.

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Media captionEight people have been injured in the crash

The bus was travelling from Swansea University Singleton campus to its Swansea Bay campus when the crash happened but was off its normal route due to a temporary road closure, a First Cymru spokesman said.

Swansea University said its students were among the passengers and its welfare staff were offering help and support.

Image copyright Alastair Hawkes
Image caption Alastair Hawkes was on the top deck of the bus when the crash happened

Swansea Bay University Health Board asked people to avoid attending Morriston A&E "unless you have a serious illness or injury", saying the department was "extremely busy".

'There was a crunch and smashing glass and screaming'

Alastair Hawkes, 22, was on the top deck when the crash happened: "There was a lady who was cut out, she was bleeding heavily and flown to hospital in Cardiff.

"I think there were three injured - somebody else was bleeding badly and an older gentleman was shaken, in shock. We thought he passed out."

Mr Hawkes, who got on the bus in the Uplands area, said it had taken a different route to normal, he believes because of a fallen tree.

"There was a crunch and smashing glass and screaming.

"Everyone was thinking 'what just happened?' as there was a bridge halfway up the bus."

Image caption Several lines to Swansea station closed after the crash
Image copyright Dimitris Legakis
Image caption Motorists have been asked to avoid the area, and only visit Morriston A&E if they have a serious injury or illness

The student, originally from Kettering, said he dialled 999 while another passenger managed to hail down police.

He described the top half of the bus slicing off on to the train track above and passengers in shock.

"Those that were bleeding were taken to hospital and the rest brought here (Landore Social Club)," he said.

"Most are alright, but they're just making sure."

'It sounded like a building had come down'

Jamie Maddox, 27, who works in a garage near to the crash site, described the collision as "absolutely terrible".

"Me and some of my colleagues ran out before any response vehicles turned up," he said.

"I saw a couple of distressed passengers, but within a matter of minutes police were here on scene and they removed us.

"There was a loud bang - it sounded like a building had come down."

Mr Maddox said he made sure the passengers he could get to were fine and offered them a hot drink.

Image copyright Tom Evans
Image caption Eight people were taken to hospital and others were assessed at the scene

What is the bus company saying?

The managing director of First Cymru, Andrew Sherrington, said confirmed one of its vehicles operating Service 10 between Swansea University Singleton campus and Swansea Bay university campus had hit a bridge, "which has resulted in a number of passengers sustaining injuries".

"We've immediately dispatched a support team and launched a full investigation to establish the circumstances that has led to this collision, and are assisting South Wales Police with their enquiries," he added.

"Everyone at First Cymru is shocked by this incident and our heartfelt sympathies go out to those injured."

Image caption A social club nearby has opened to offer tea and coffee to passengers

'We heard an almighty bang'

Tom Evans, who works near to the scene of the crash, said it looked like "a tin opener had taken the top of the bus off".

He arrived on the scene shortly after the crash and said he believed the bus driver had misjudged the height of a railway bridge and tried to drive under it.

He added: "I heard it and went out soon after. Police were there quickly, cordoning it off. It's now a no-go area."

A man who works nearby, who did not wish to be identified, said the crash looked "really serious".

He added: "We heard an almighty bang and all thought it was thunder because it's raining, but then we saw an ambulance, we thought somebody's crashed on the M4 but then, no, they're outside.

"We ran outside and saw the bus and we could see anyone who would have been on the top deck at the front, well it would be really serious... it was destroyed."

Secretary Terry Edkins opened up the nearby Landore Social Club at the request of police to offer tea and coffee to passengers.

"There are about 20 people at the social club having teas and coffees. The ones at the club are a bit shaken but OK," he added.

What about transport disruption?

The road remains closed and people have been asked to avoid the area.

Traffic analyst site Inrix reported queuing traffic on the A483 Fabian Way in the afternoon, more than one mile away from the crash.

Lines to Swansea railway station were closed until mid afternoon, causing delays but have since reopened.

Image caption A recovery vehicle was at the scene of the incident

Transport for Wales (TfW) put on replacement buses and trains were diverted around a loop.

What do the emergency services say?

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said crews had been sent to deal with the crash, while the Welsh Ambulance Service said it sent five ambulances, two rapid response cars and three ambulance officers to the scene.

South Wales Police urged motorists to avoid the area.

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