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30 hurt as double decker overturns

An investigation is under way into how a double decker bus overturned in Belfast, injuring more than 30 people.

A fleet of ambulances ferried those who had been hurt to hospitals around the city but police said none of the injuries were life-threatening.

The accident occurred after the bus hit a kerb and then ran into a wall outside Central Station near the city centre, before the vehicle toppled on to its side.

Bus company Translink initially estimated nine of the passengers were injured but revised the figure after police confirmed around 30 were taken to hospital. Five were discharged at the scene.

The bus driver had to be cut from the vehicle and he is believed to be the most seriously injured.

The bus was travelling on the city-bound lane outside the station and was ferrying passengers from east Belfast into the city centre.

A section of the busy route was closed as medics assisted the injured and investigators examined the scene.

Police shut down the Albertbridge Road and Oxford Street while the accident was dealt with.

The front of the bus was badly damaged in the crash.

Translink spokesman Ciaran Rogan said its engineering staff were working with police, who will lead the inquiry into the collision.

"Until then, we are not in a position to say what caused it," he said.

Northern Irish Health Minister Edwin Poots offered his support to those injured in the crash.

"I was shocked when I heard that so many people has been injured in what must have been a very frightening incident for everyone involved," he said.

"I want to send my best wishes to those who were caught up in this incident.

"My first concern is that those affected receive the help they need to speed their recovery."

He added: "I would also like to thank the Ambulance Service and hospital staff across Belfast who moved swiftly to deal with this serious incident."

The ambulance service said the crash, which took place at around 2.15pm, was declared a major incident due to the amount of resources that had to be assigned to deal with it.

All Belfast's hospitals helped to assess and treat the casualties.

The injured were taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital, City Hospital, the Mater Hospital and Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

A pregnant woman was reported to have been taken to the Ulster Hospital for a check-up.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy visited the scene of the bus accident.

He expressed concern for all those involved and said they must have been distressed by the crash.

He also paid tribute to the fast action of the emergency services.

The Minister added: "My Department's Roads Service is on site and liaising with the PSNI and every effort is being made to get the road reopened in time for tomorrow morning's commuter traffic."

© Press Association