Major incident as school bus full of children overturns on M53

Drivers in Merseyside are advised the M53 remains closed in both directions between junctions 5 (Hooton) and 4 (Clatterbridge) due to an overturned coach. The incident happened shortly after 8am this morning.

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

Those killed were a 15-year-old schoolgirl and the driver of the bus.

Merseyside Police said that just after 8am they received a report that a bus had struck a reservation on Junction 5 of the M53.

Earlier, it was stated by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) that one female patient was transported to the hospital with major injuries. Fifty people were assessed at the scene.

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The bus was taking children to Calday Grange Grammar School and West Kirby Grammar School. In a statement, West Kirby Grammar School said, “We are aware of a situation involving one of our school buses on the [M53] motorway earlier today.

“We’re actively gathering details and assisting affected students and their families.

“Support is available. If you need to talk or seek guidance, please contact the school office.”

All emergency services are at the scene, along with two North West Air Ambulances. National Highways traffic officers are supporting with traffic management.

The Wirral University Hospital NHS Trust is dealing with the incident. There are clear plans in place to deal with these types of emergency situations and services it is ready to receive any casualties. The Trust has declared a Major Incident and the Major Incident Team has been stood up to manage the situation.

Unison North West says that striking clinical support workers have returned to work saying, “Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by this terrible incident.”

Dr Nikki Stevenson, Medical Director at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, said, “Our thoughts are with those affected by this event and we are ready to provide treatment and support to any casualties and relatives arriving at Arrowe Park Hospital.  

“Our staff are professionally trained and prepared for such events, and we have established a Major Incident Team to coordinate and manage the emergency response.”

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital declared a major incident, but has since said it is expecting no further casualties from the crash, and has therefore downgraded the major incident status. In a statement, the hospital said, “Our Emergency Department is currently extremely busy and we would also ask parents to only bring their children to the department if it is urgent.

Alder Hey confirmed that it is “treating a number of patients.” In a further statement, Alder Hey said, “We will continue to support and liaise with families directly and are unable to share any further details of individual patients at this time.”

“Our Emergency Department is currently extremely busy and we would also ask parents to only bring their children to the department if it is urgent.”

A Merseyside Police spokesperson said, “Junctions 3-5 of the M53 are closed in both directions. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is currently ensuring the safe removal of passengers and the driver, and North West Ambulance Service are at the scene attending to anyone requiring treatment.

“Motorists are advised to avoid the area and find alternative routes, and we advise people to remain patient while the incident is ongoing.

“Enquiries are ongoing and updates will be issued as soon as possible.

“Please note this incident is ongoing and we are urging people to refrain from speculating or publishing any sensitive information that could be distressing online or via social media platforms.”

The motorway is still closed in both directions and will be until further notice.

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

Drivers planning to travel in this area are advised to allow extra journey time or delay their journey if at all possible. 

Merseyside Police PCC, Emily Spurrell, said, “My thoughts are with everybody affected by this worrying incident.

“Whilst I understand there will be deep concern, I would urge people not to speculate online or share any posts that could cause distress. Emergency services are at the scene and are working to safely remove and treat anybody needing medical support.”

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram said, “I’m deeply concerned about the news of a school bus crash on the Wirral.

“My thoughts are with those affected and their loved ones. The Combined Authority and Merseytravel have offered our full support and assistance. As ever we’re so grateful to our emergency services.”

Wirral West MP, Margaret Greenwood said, “My thoughts are with everyone affected by the incident on the M53. I know the emergency services will be working hard to support people; if there’s any assistance I can provide, please call my office on 0151 792 3416.”

Wallasey MP, Dame Angela Eagle said, “I am aware that a serious road traffic incident occurred this morning on the M53 involving a local school bus.

“My thoughts are with everyone involved in the incident, their family members and the wider school community.

“They are also with the emergency services from Arrowe Park and local police that are presently responding to the situation. They have my full support, and I hope that all those involved are able to receive the medical attention they need urgently.”

Birkenhead MP, Mick Whitley said, “My thoughts are with everyone who’s been affected by the terrible incident on the M53.

“Please keep clear of the area and allow the emergency services to do their work.

“If you’re a Birkenhead constituent who’s been affected, I will do whatever I can to support you.”

Updates are shared on the X (Twitter) feed, @HighwaysNWEST.

Further information is available from National Highways by visiting our www.trafficengland.com  website and travel apps, or via the regional Twitter/X feed.

National Highways’ 24/7 contact centre team is also available to provide up-to-the-minute information on 0300 123 5000.

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