Monday 16 January 2017

'I was trying to crawl out with friends, that's when we realised people were trapped' - Spain student bus crash survivor

Aine Fox and Rachael Burnett

Published 21/03/2016 | 10:58

Emergency services personnel at the scene of the coach crash on the AP7 highway along the Mediterranean coast halfway between Valencia and Barcelona in Spain. Photo: AP
Emergency services personnel at the scene of the coach crash on the AP7 highway along the Mediterranean coast halfway between Valencia and Barcelona in Spain. Photo: AP
Cranes lift the wreckage of the coach that crashed near Barcelona. Photo: Reuters
Emergency services at the scene of the coach crash in Spain (AP)
The scene of the accident on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France (AP)
Forensic experts inspect the wreckage of the bus. Photo: Reuters
Emergency personnel operate on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals. Photo: Getty
A body is removed from the scene of the crash. Photo: Getty
Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident near Freginals
Firemen stand beside a crashed bus after a traffic accident in Freginals, Spain, March 20, 2016
Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident crashed on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France along the Mediterranean coast near Freginals halfway between Valencia and Barcelona early Sunday, March 20, 2016
Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident crashed on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France along the Mediterranean coast near Freginals halfway between Valencia and Barcelona early Sunday, Spain, March 20, 2016

A British student on a bus which crashed in Spain, killing 13 women, has described trying to crawl out of the vehicle after waking up and seeing people lying on the floor.

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Tallulah Lyons, a second year student at the University of Southampton, was one of a reported 34 people injured when the bus, carrying 57 passengers, crashed on a highway on Sunday while returning from the country's largest fireworks festival.

Two Irish students were also injured while on their way back from the renowned Fallas fireworks festival in Valencia when the coach hit the barriers of the AP7 highway near Freginals, halfway between Valencia and Barcelona.

Seven of those killed in the crash were from Italy, Catalonian Interior department director Jordi Jane told reporters.

Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident crashed on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France along the Mediterranean coast near Freginals halfway between Valencia and Barcelona early Sunday, Spain, March 20, 2016
Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident crashed on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France along the Mediterranean coast near Freginals halfway between Valencia and Barcelona early Sunday, Spain, March 20, 2016

The rest of the victims, all aged between 19 and 25 years old, were made up of two Germans, one Austrian, one French woman, a Romanian and a woman from Uzbekistan, the official said.

Ms Lyons, who is in Spain for a semester of her English degree, told the BBC: "I just remember waking up and people were on the floor.

Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident near Freginals
Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident near Freginals

"I was trying to crawl out with friends - and that's when we realised some people were trapped. It took about two hours to get everyone out."

Ms Lyons is reported to have suffered broken bones in the accident.

Emergency personnel operate on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals. Photo: Getty
Emergency personnel operate on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals. Photo: Getty

A University of Southampton spokeswoman said: "We are very pleased to hear that Tallulah is safe and recovering. We have made contact with her to extend our full range of support services."

The British Foreign Office said: "Consular staff have been deployed to visit a British national who was injured following the coach crash in Tarragona, and we remain in contact with the local authorities over the situation."

Forensic experts inspect the wreckage of the bus. Photo: Reuters
Forensic experts inspect the wreckage of the bus. Photo: Reuters

One of the injured Irish people is understood to be a student at University College Cork.

In a statement on its Facebook page the university said the student is believed to have suffered an arm injury, adding: "The University wishes to express its condolences to the families, friends and wider university communities of the students who died in this tragic accident."

Emergency services personnel at the scene of the coach crash on the AP7 highway along the Mediterranean coast halfway between Valencia and Barcelona in Spain. Photo: AP
Emergency services personnel at the scene of the coach crash on the AP7 highway along the Mediterranean coast halfway between Valencia and Barcelona in Spain. Photo: AP

Television images from state broadcaster TVE showed the bus also crashed into an oncoming car on the opposite side of the road.

The bus driver was held at a police station in the city of Tortosa, according to Mr Jane.

Spanish interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said the driver passed alcohol and drug tests.

Press Association

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