Nine injured as coach carrying US punk rock band Baroness falls from overpass in A36 crash | The Independent

The members of an American punk rock band and their crew recover in hospital after their tour bus plunged over an overpass in the pouring rain.

The band, Baroness, from Savannah, Georgia, were touring Britain and Europe when their coach crashed through a crash barrier and fell 30ft (9m).

Emergency services said two people, including the driver, were trapped in the wreckage. They were released and, having suffered the most serious injuries, including multiple broken bones, were taken to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

According to the Great Western Ambulance Service, the other seven suffered more minor injuries and were taken to Royal United Hospital in Bath.

The Baroness line-up consists of John Baizley, Peter Adams, Matt Maggioni and Allen Blickle. They played in Bristol last night and were traveling to a gig in Southampton when the accident happened at the junction of Brassknocker Hill and the A36 in Bath at 11.30am.

A spokesperson for the band said: “The Baroness had a serious bus accident last night near Bath, England. Band members and crew are recovering in local hospitals. All tour dates are postponed until further notice.”

Eyewitnesses said they heard a loud bang and rushed to the scene.

Site manager Tony Cook, 61, was one of the first people to arrive while working at a property at the bottom of Brassknocker Hill.

When he and some of the other workers arrived at the coach, they found the driver hanging out of the front window, Mr Cook said.

After helping him, the driver told them there had been a problem with the steering.

“At the top of the hill it’s very windy so they were going pretty slow and seemed to be taking it very cautiously,” Mr Cook said.

“It was torrential rain. It was like one of those eastern storms or something, it was like a river here.

“Whether the brakes went all the way down or, what the driver said to one of my guys was the steering stopped, he couldn’t turn the corner. So if the hydraulics or something happened, I don’t know.

“When we got there the driver was hanging off the front of the coach but his legs were stuck so we had to free him and get him comfortable.

“Then we put ladders in there for the conscious people inside to get out.

“We just brought people to the side of the road and made them comfortable and just helped where we could because there was obviously quite a bit of commotion and shouting and that. But then the police and the ambulance arrived and they took over.

“It was a German left-hand drive coach and inside it had all the fairy lights, but it was quite a mess by the time we got there.

“First of all, you think: maybe his brakes failed? But I don’t think he could have gone that far. But he said he couldn’t turn the corner, so maybe it was that he was going too fast. . But it could be a combination of things.”

Kerry Heskith, 24, assistant manager of the Angelfish Cafe next to the crash site, said it was a miracle no one was more seriously injured.

“It was pouring rain and we just heard a huge noise, a huge bang. It was like a cross between thunder and a huge truck crash.” she says.

“My colleague and I just looked at each other and ran straight around the coroner and got up the road. And we saw the vehicle that had passed and ran straight for our colleagues to call the emergency services.

“We then went back around the corner and saw it was a coach and assumed the worst: that it was full of people.

“We went back to say get as many ambulances as you can, it’s a big coach and it crashed. Everything crashed in the front. And then we went back to check fuel and everything, but it was diesel so it wouldn’t ignite.

“There were just trees everywhere and everything was destroyed. And the builders ran and the car people ran to help.

“We could see a few people moving around inside and it was fairly quickly assumed that everyone was alive and we got the numbers to say it was nine people.

“Then all the ambulances, firefighters and police arrived and we came out and helped get people tea and coffee and a place to shelter the injured.”

Miss Heskith said people inside the coach were in shock.

“It was very quiet but there was the commotion of people rushing to the coach to see if people were okay. Everyone was just worried and shocked because it’s such a downfall. The way he traveled, I just can’t believe people weren’t more seriously injured. It really is a miracle accident,” she said.

“He’s 30ft and the whole coach front is broken. It could have been a lot worse.”

Miss Heskith helped comfort members of the group with less serious injuries and took them to the cafe where they were questioned by police.

“The band members were absolutely lovely and I think they just wanted to go home,” she said.

“I think they were just shaken up. They just couldn’t believe it. They couldn’t really remember everything, I don’t think. I really hope they’re all okay. It was a group really nice people.”

No other vehicles were involved in the crash with the German single-decker, black and red coach. It appears the coach failed to stop at the bottom of the T-junction at Brassknocker Hill and crashed into the overpass.

A spokesperson for Avon Fire and Rescue said: ‘For reasons not yet known the coach failed to stop at the bottom of Brassknocker Hill, crossed the A36 and left the road, dropping about 30 feet below, coming to rest near a canal.”

The bus came to a stop, the wheels still on the ground, taking with it foliage and tree branches which now cover the roof of the vehicle. The coach’s seats and pieces of wood from the interior were ripped out and all of its windows were smashed.

Inspector Steve Mildren, of Avon and Somerset Police, told reporters at the scene: ‘At 11.30am this morning we received a phone call from a member of the public. They told us that a coach had descended Brassknocker Hill at the A36 junction and left the road and landed on the road below the viaduct.

“We know there were nine passengers on the coach. They have all been found and there are injuries there and they are receiving medical treatment in hospital. At this time we do not believe that none of these injuries are life-threatening.” .

“It had been raining very heavily, as it has for much of the day.”

An investigation is currently underway to establish how and why the bus left the road.

Temporary road closures around the crash site have been lifted, Avon and Somerset Police later said.

“Motorists are thanked for their patience while emergency services handled this incident,” the spokesperson added.


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