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Three dead in Bestival crash

Late night coach hits tree on way back to city

Published on September 11th 2012.

Three dead in Bestival crash

THREE people were killed and a number of others seriously injured when a coach returning to Merseyside from Bestival, on the Isle of Wight, overturned after crashing into a tree near a tunnel in Surrey. 

The 51-seat coach, operated by Merseypride Travel, was going north on the A3 when the crash happened near the Hindhead Tunnel at 23:50 on Monday. 

One of the dead was the driver, a semi-retired father of two in his sixties, according to reports.  He had been working for the company for about six months.

The coach, which is believed to have left Liverpool last Wednesday for the four day festival, left the carriageway between the tunnel and the Thursley exit and hit a tree. 


Injured passengers have been taken to a number of different hospitals, some of them suffering “life changing injuries”, said police. 

No other vehicles are thought to have been involved in the crash. 

Insp Richard Mallett said the vehicle had suffered a "significant impact". 

"I understand the road was dry. We cannot see any reason that the road conditions would have had any effect on what occurred," he said. 

Dave Hannel, owner of Merseypride Travel, said he wanted to send his condolences to the families of the people involved in the crash.

Surrey police are working with the Merseyside force, as well as with the coach company, to identify the passengers and notify relatives. 


Those hurt in the crash, have been taken to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey, St George's Hospital in Tooting, King's College Hospital in London, Frimley Park Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. 

Other passengers have been taken to a rest centre which has been set up nearby by Waverley Council.

Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby said: "This has been declared a major incident and we are working with our colleagues from the other emergency services and other partner agencies to provide a co-ordinated response in line with agreed protocols.

"Our thoughts remain with the relatives of the dead and the injured at this time and we are working very hard to notify their next of kin."

A helpline has been set up by Surrey Police for anyone concerned about people travelling on the coach on 0800 056 0154.

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