On Wednesday, a MacEwan’s Coach Services bus crashed on the A702 close to Biggar at 8:30pm. The driver was taken to Wishaw General Hospital with a possible fracture in his spine, while 12 passengers were also injured and some taken to hospital for treatment for minor injuries. The bus was travelling toward Biggar when it ran off the road and plunged down an embankment.
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said in a statement that the effective and fast rescue operations conducted by the crews at the scene meant that everyone escaped the bus within an hour of them arriving. They had been faced with a very tough situation, as the bus was resting about 20ft down the embankment. However, they were able to stabilise the bus and make the situation safe so that the casualties could be assessed. It was quickly determined that a total of 13 people were hurt with various injuries, and they were helped out of the bus and given medical attention from the Scottish Ambulance Service. Some were then taken to hospital for more check-ups. The cause of the crash isn’t known yet, and police are investigating.
Strathclyde Police said that the injuries to passengers included lower back pain, bumps on the head and minor injuries to the face. Inspector Scott Jones has warned other drivers to pay attention to their speed on rural roads in Clydesdale amid the crash. There was some fog in the area at the time of the crash, so drivers need to be aware of such conditions and reduce their speed. Due to the very sharp bend at Candymill, where the accident happened, things could have been much worse.
This follows Scottish Traffic Commissioner Joan Aitken taking away MacEwan’s Coach Services’ operating licence from 40 to 32 vehicles in 2010-11 for six months. This happened two years after she warned the company about its standard of maintenance. A public hearing was prompted by several prohibition notices from UK government vehicle inspectors, which banned some vehicles from the road until they were fixed.
MacEwan’s Coach Services owner John MacEwan said in a statement that the company has 28 years of experience in transporting passengers, and the safety of those passengers is their top priority. They are pleased to help the police and VOSA in the investigation of this accident, with the driver and himself talking to authorities. The company will conduct its own investigation as well to determine what lessons can be learned.
MacEwan added that it seems like the accident didn’t involve any other vehicles, while there was heavy fog at the time. At the moment, however, they don’t have any more information as to what happened. Their vehicles are checked regularly, and the driver has over ten years of experience driving a bus. They make 13 journeys on this part of the A702 each way, every day. They also understand that safety improvements have been considered by South Lanarkshire Council on the same corner as the accident. Their thoughts are with the passengers who were injured, and they wish them a speedy recovery – along with the driver, who is in stable condition.