Horrified rush hour passengers had a miracle escape after the roof of a double decker bus was completely ripped off by a low hanging tree branch this morning.
Six commuters were taken to hospital suffering head injuries after the First Bus number 342 hit the tree branches partially brought down by strong winds.
The injured had multiple cuts and lacerations to their heads and faces as the roof of the white double decker bus was ripped off and left 100 yards down the road.
Emergency services rushed to the scene at Fishponds Road in Bristol at around 7.45am and checked over every passenger on the bus.
Paramedics treated injured patients in their seats on the top of the bus – left completely exposed by the smash.
At least six adults suffered cuts and lacerations to their heads, but the injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
Two were rushed to Frenchay Hospital with minor cuts to their heads, with one man rushed for treatment on a spinal board.
Three further patients were being assessed at the scene yesterday, but were expected to be treated at the back of an ambulance.
Passengers spoke of their lucky escape from the wreck.
IT software company director Simon Starr, 34, said: ”After the crash I walked up the stairs and there were people screaming. It was a pretty hellish sight and scary to be involved in.
”No one was unconscious fortunately but there was a lot of blood on some people. The bus was about half full, but ten people on the top deck needed treatment.
”I got on at the bus stop just before the tree. I would normally sit on the top deck but because I don’t usually catch the 342 I sat on the bottom tier next to the stairs.
”I was reading a paper and there was just this almighty bang. It was like the bus had gone into the back of a car.
”Speaking to other passengers though it appears there was one very low branch and it’s just hit that.
”Speed wasn’t a factor, I wouldn’t blame the driver. This one branch was just lower and bigger than most.
”You hear branches go across the roof all the time on buses and this one was probably just bigger than usual.”
A spokeswoman for the Great Western Ambulance Service said: ”We are checking over all of the passengers that were on the bus.
”We believe we have six patients in total, with none thought to have suffered life threatening injuries. I believe all of the six are adults and not children.
”They have suffered cuts to their heads and other head injuries. We have paramedics and specialist paramedics there as well.
”They are working together to find out which passengers have what injuries. Two have been taken to Frenchay with not serious head injuries.
”One of the two – a man – was taken on a spinal board but his injuries are not thought to be serious.”
A spokeswoman for Avon and Somerset police said: ”Police were called to Fishponds Road, Bristol at around 7.40am this morning to reports of an incident involving a double decker bus.
”The ambulance service is treating several passengers at the scene.
”The road has been closed from the Eastville side of Hawkesbury Road and also the Fishponds Road junction with Brentry Road.
”Motorists are being urged to avoid the area at this time.”
A spokesperson for First Bus said: ”We can confirm that there has been an incident this morning on Fishponds Road involving a Service 342 bus.
”The top of the double decker bus was in collision with some tree branches which were hanging over the road.
”The bus was in service at the time, with a number of passengers on board. A number of people have sustained injuries and have been taken to hospital for further treatment. None of the injuries are thought to be life threatening.
”Our teams are on the scene and are working with the relevant authorities to determine exactly what has happened.
”Our thoughts are with those people who were on the bus at the time of the incident and their family and friends.
”We would like to take this opportunity to reassure people that such incidents are thankfully very rare, and that the bus remains one of the safest forms of transport in the UK.”