Monday 16 January 2017

Schoolchildren rescued from bus trapped in floods after driver ignores road closure

Dave Iggens London

Published 06/01/2016 | 02:30

The school bus swept off the road by floodwater near Newton-on-Ouse, north of York in England
The school bus swept off the road by floodwater near Newton-on-Ouse, north of York in England

More than 20 schoolchildren have been rescued after their bus became stranded and began to fill with water when the driver went through a "road closed" sign.

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Firefighters were called by some of the 26 youngsters on the service heading for Easingwold School, in North Yorkshire, when it became stranded near the village of Newton-on-Ouse, just north of York, England, a council has confirmed.

The passengers posted pictures of the rising water levels inside the vehicle as others smashed a window at the back of the bus.

Grace Abbott (15) told the 'York Press': "We felt the bus tilt and that's when water started gushing through the bus. Everyone ran across to the other side of the bus to stop us capsizing and tipping over. He was shouting down the phone to the bus company so I thought we had to phone the fire brigade because there was no way we were getting out of there on our own."

Grace told the paper many of the younger children were crying and a girl who tried to smash the window cut her hand.

Fire crews from across North Yorkshire responded to the call and a swift water rescue team was also deployed. The children were all taken off the stricken vehicle by firefighters and put on another bus.

North Yorkshire County Council said the bus driver went through a road closure sign, as the route taken by the bus, between Tollerton and Newton-on-Ouse, has been closed by the highways authority since the heavy rains and flooding after Christmas.

"We put road closure signs out during flooding for a very good reason - to keep people safe," said County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire's Executive Member for Highways.

"Roads all over the county have been affected by flood waters and some remain so. We would urge drivers to comply for the sake of their own safety and not drive through closure signs when there is flooding. It is not possible to tell how deep the water is on flooded roads and drivers can quickly find themselves in trouble".

"We will be working with the management staff at (bus company) Stephenson's to ensure that the incident is fully investigated and appropriate action is taken."

Irish Independent

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