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Three dead as festival coach crashes returning to Merseyside
12:43pm Tuesday 11th September 2012 in News
THREE people were killed and many injured after a coach carrying festival-goers back to Merseyside crashed in Surrey.
The 51-seater Merseypride Travel coach was on its way back from Bestival on the Isle of Wight when it crashed into a tree on an embankment off the A3 at Hindhead shortly before midnight.
The 51-seat coach was travelling northbound around 11.50pm when it left the carriageway between the Hindhead tunnel and the Thursley exit and smashed into a tree.
Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby said: "This has been declared a major incident and we are working with our colleagues from the other emergency services and other partner agencies to provide a coordinated response in line with agreed protocols.
“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.”
No other vehicles are believed to be involved, although the investigation is still at an early stage.
Three people have been declared dead at the scene and one of the passengers has been airlifted to Southampton General Hospital with what are described as “life-changing injuries.”
Further passengers, some of whom have serious injuries, have been taken to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey, St George's Hospital in Tooting, King's College Hospital in London, Frimley Park Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
The road remains closed in both directions while emergency services, including Surrey Police, Surrey Fire and Rescue and South East Coast Ambulance Service, deal with the incident.
Surrey Police are working closely with Merseyside Police, as well as with the coach company, to identify passengers and notify relatives.
A Casualty Bureau Number has been set up on 0800 056 0154 for anyone with concerns about passengers.
Following medical assessment, passengers will be taken to a rest centre which has been set up nearby and is being managed by Waverley Borough Council.