16:33 11 September 2012
A coach that crashed into a tree in Surrey on Monday at 11.50pm has killed three passengers, following its return from a festival on the Isle of Wight.
The Merseyside coach, returning from ‘Bestival’, smashed close to the A3 near Hindhead Tunnel, with three victims being pronounced dead at the scene and those with injuries being taken to various hospitals.
Police have stated that a fourth person was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital, and passengers are believed to be resting at a nearby centre set up by Waverley Council. Reports state no other vehicle is believed to have been involved.
Road closures occurred in both directions with Surrey Police, Surrey Fire and Rescue and also South East Coast Ambulance Service attending the scene.
Inspector Richard Mallett told the BBC: "I understand the road was dry. We cannot see any reason that the road conditions would have had any effect on what occurred."
The owner of Merseypride Travel is thought to have sent his condolences to the families of those aboard the coach.
"This has been declared a major incident,” said Jerry Kirkby, Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable, as reported by the BBC. "Our thoughts remain with the relatives of the dead and the injured at this time and we are working very hard to notify their next of kin."
A Surrey Police spokeswoman explained officers were doing a ‘thorough search’ of both the coach and the scene of the crash including its surrounding area.
Surrey Police have set up a helpline for anyone who may be concerned for one of the coach passengers; 0800 056 0154.
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