Driver and child dead following M53 school bus crash

Merseyside Police has confirmed that two people have died following the M53 school bus crash.

Those killed were a 15-year-old schoolgirl and the driver of the bus. They have not yet been named.

Police have confirmed that no other vehicle was involved in the crash.

At a press conference at Birkenhead Town Hall, Ch Supt Graeme Robson said that eight other children were taken to the Countess of Chester and Arrowe Park Hospitals and other children were treated at the scene.

Director of North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), Joanne Clague, said, “A further two patients were taken to Alder Hey Children’s hospital with serious injuries,” adding “Other patients with minor injuries were taken to surrounding hospitals.”

Mark Thomas, the area manager of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said that “firefighters worked with emergency service colleagues and assisted casualties from the coach.”

Simone White, representing Wirral Council offered her “sincerest condolences” to everyone affected.

She said that both the council’s and the schools’ focus “is in supporting the school and wider community, who would all have been affected by this incident”.

In total, 54 people were travelling on the bus and children who were travelling on other buses in what was described as a “coach convoy”, witnessed the incident. Family liaison officers are supporting the families of those affected by the incident.

Wirral West MP, Margaret Greenwood said, “Tragically a 14-year-old school girl and the driver of the coach in today’s crash on the M53 have died. My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with their family and friends and all those affected.”

While attendance at the scene is being scaled down, the section of the M53 motorway where the crash took place is expected to remain closed for a number of hours to maintain the scene of the incident for forensic purposes.

Secretary of State for Education and MP for Chichester, Gillian Keegan, issued a statement on Twitter/X that said, “It is devastating that two people, including a 14-year-old girl, have died in a road accident in Merseyside this morning.

“I send my deepest condolences to their families and everyone at Calday Grange Grammar School and West Kirby Grammar School at this awful time.

“I am hugely grateful to the emergency services for their work responding to this situation. We will continue to support the schools and the local authority as they deal with this tragedy.”

Labour leader, Keir Starmer said on Twitter/X, “My heart goes out to everyone affected by the tragic accident on the Wirral this morning. Unimaginably sad news.”

Diversion routes

Drivers travelling northbound are advised to follow the solid circle diversion symbol:

  • Exit the M53 northbound at junction 5
  • At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto the A41 southbound (New Chester Road)
  • At the B5133 junction, turn right onto the B5133 westbound (Hooton Road)
  • At the junction with the B5151, turn right and join the B5151 northbound (Birkenhead Road)
  • Continue to then re-join the M53 at junction 4

Southbound traffic is advised to follow this diversion:

  • Exit the M53 southbound at junction 4
  • Take the 3rd exit at the roundabout onto the B5151 southbound (Mount Road)
  • At the junction with the B5133, turn left onto the B5133 eastbound (Neston Road)
  • Continue onward and then at the junction with the A41, turn right and join the A41 New Chester Road northbound
  • Continue to then re-join the M53 southbound at junction 5

Statements given at Birkenhead Town Hall Press conference earlier this afternoon:

Chief Superintendent Graeme Robson of Merseyside Police said, “Emergency services (Police, Fire and Ambulance) were called to reports of an overturned bus on the M53 at 8.03am this morning.

“We can confirm that the bus was a school bus that was taking pupils to West Kirby and Calday Grammar Schools on the Wirral.

“Two children were removed from the scene to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

“50 other children were taken to an Emergency Training Centre where they were medically assessed and eight of those 50 children have been taken to the Countess of Chester and Arrowe Park Hospitals.

“Our thoughts and condolences are very much with their families and friends at this tragic time.

“Family Liaison Officers are providing specialist support to both families and we are working with both schools and Wirral and Cheshire West Councils to ensure the necessary trauma support is in place for the children on the bus.

“We also know that other children from both schools were on buses travelling in convoy with the bus involved in the incident and witnessed the incident. They too will be provided with appropriate trauma support.

“The motorway is expected to be closed for a number of hours whilst investigative work is carried out and we would like to thank motorists for their patience whilst the investigation is ongoing.

“Diversions are in place and, where possible, take alternative routes.

“I would also like to remind people that there is an investigation underway and would ask people to refrain from posting anything on social media that could hamper that investigation and not to speculate.”

Joanne Clague NWAS Area Director for Cheshire and Merseyside said, ” Firstly, I would like to pass on our condolences to all those involved in this incident.

“Following reports of a crash involving a coach this morning, we declared a major incident. This was due to the potential number of casualties involved. As a result, we sent a substantial number of ambulances, senior clinicians and our Hazardous Area Response Teams. A critical care doctor was also dispatched to the scene.

“Tragically, we can confirm that there were two fatalities as a result of the crash. Two patients were taken to Alder Hey with serious injuries. In addition, we have also taken a number of patients to surrounding hospitals to be treated for minor injuries.
50 children were transported to a casualty clearing centre at the Emergency Service Training Centre in Wallasey.

“Assessments have taken place by our clinicians there, and 39 patients have been discharged, with 13 taken or referred to local hospitals for treatment for minor injuries.
I would like to thank our emergency service colleagues for their support in ensuring the scene was safe so we were able to identify the most seriously injured first whilst safeguarding all those involved in the incident.

“Again, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of those affected.”

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager, Mark Thomas, said, “Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service attended an incident on the M53 northbound carriageway this morning. Two fire engines and our Search and Rescue Team were mobilised at 8.05am to reports of a school bus overturned.

“Firefighters stabilised the vehicle, ensured the scene was safe, and assisted casualties exiting.

“Working jointly with our police and ambulance colleagues, we were able to assist the casualties onto a second coach to receive care away from the scene.

“Our operations have been scaled down and currently we remain in attendance to preserve the scene while Merseyside Police conduct their investigation.

“Our thoughts are very much with the family and all those affected by this incident.”

Simone White, Director for Children, Families and Education, Wirral Council said, “On behalf of Wirral Council I offer my sincerest condolences to everyone affected by this tragic incident today.

“Council staff are working closely with the schools since being made aware of the incident this morning.

“As everyone will understand, the focus for the schools and ourselves at the moment is on supporting their pupils, the families and the wider school community.

“In the meantime, Wirral will work with other local areas to support those affected, providing whatever support and assistance that may be needed, in addition to supporting the emergency services in their response to this incident – we will continue to do whatever we can to help.”

Early police reports stated that the girl was 14-years-old. Merseyside Police have since confirmed that the girl was 15-years-old.

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