M53 crash: Schoolgirl and coach driver dead after school bus overturns on motorway

A bus carrying pupils from West Kirby Grammar School and Calday Grange Grammar School overturned on the M53 with two confirmed deaths.
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Two people have died after a packed school bus was involved in a major crash on the M53 on Friday morning.

The bus, carrying pupils to West Kirby Grammar School for Girls and Calday Grange Grammar School, struck a reservation at junction five of the northbound carriageway just after 8am and overturned.

A 14-year-old schoolgirl and the bus driver were killed, Merseyside Police have confirmed. Eight other children are in hospital, with two being treated for serious injuries.

Emergency services and an air ambulance attended the scene at Hooton as large stretches of the motorway were closed.

Merseyside Police chief superintendent Graeme Robson told a press conference there were 54 people on the bus including the driver and Merseyside Fire and Rescue helped passengers escape the debris.

Emergency services at the scene of a coach crash on the M53 motorway. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA WireEmergency services at the scene of a coach crash on the M53 motorway. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Emergency services at the scene of a coach crash on the M53 motorway. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

“Sadly, I can confirm that the driver and a 14-year-old schoolgirl have died,” He said. “Two children were taken from the scene to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.”

A number of other patients were taken to surrounding hospitals, such as Arrowe Park and the Countess of Chester Hospital, for treatment to minor injuries. A total of 50 children were transported to a casualty clearing centre at the emergency services training centre in Wallasey.

The bus involved belonged to Carvers Coaches based in Ellesmere Port. No other vehicle was understood to be involved in the crash, however, the coach was travelling along with other school buses.

Chief inspector Robson said: “We know that other children from both schools were on buses travelling in convoy with the bus involved in the incident and witnessed the incident. They will be provided with appropriate trauma support.”

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) declared major incidents, although Alder Hey later de-escalated.

Merseyside Police said the M53 is likely to remain closed for number of hours and diversions are in place in both directions between junctions four and five.