Sep 12 2012
Police are investigating what led to a coach overturning on its way back from a music festival, leaving three people dead and 50 injured.
The vehicle was returning to Merseyside from the Bestival event on the Isle of Wight when it careered off the road and hit a tree near Hindhead, Surrey, just before midnight on Monday.
The coach driver was one of those killed after the vehicle left the A3 on a bend between the Hindhead tunnel and the exit for Thursley and hit an oak tree on an embankment.
All 50 survivors from the crash were taken to hospital, many of them with serious "life-changing" injuries, Surrey Police said. Eleven casualties remain in hospital.
No other vehicles were involved and officers are working to establish whether the coach may have been overloaded as part of their investigation, as despite there appearing to be 53 people on board, the vehicle only had 51 passenger seats.
On Tuesday night the badly-damaged coach was removed from the scene as accident investigators continued to examine the crash site. The road was reopened at about 11.30pm. Police said neither the road conditions nor the weather was thought to be a factor in the crash and the coach had only been on the road for around an hour after leaving Portsmouth.
Police have now been in contact with the families of the three people who died in the accident.
The coach driver, named locally as Colin Daulby, was described by his neighbours in Warrington as an "all-round good guy".
The coach was operated by the company Merseypride Travel. Its owner David Hannell said he and his staff were "devastated" and offered their "heartfelt sympathy" to all the families of the passengers involved. He described the vehicle as a 51-seat "exec coach" which was 16 years old.
A casualty bureau number has been set up and people concerned about passengers on board the coach can call 08000 560 154.