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Multi-agency statement following road traffic collision on A39 – Bridgwater

At 6am today (Tuesday 17 January), we were called to the A39 Quantock Road, in Bridgwater, following a report of a road-related incident involving a double decker bus and a motorcyclist.

The double decker bus was carrying 70 Hinkley Point C workers and the bus driver when it overturned.

The incident was initially declared a major incident due to the number of people involved and the resources required, this has since been stood down.

Emergency services have been on the scene since receiving the first 999 call and we can confirm there have been no fatalities at this time.

Avon and Somerset Police Supt Paul Wiggington said:

“A total of 54 patients were triaged at the scene. It is too soon to confirm if any of these patients have life-threatening injuries, however 26 people are being treated as walking wounded.

“A number of those treated at the scene have been taken to Musgrove Park Hospital, Bridgwater Minor Injury Unit and Southmead Hospital.

“It may take us some time to recover the bus and to clear debris from the road.

“If you do need to travel along the A39, please be advised we may be at the scene for some time and request you seek alternative routes.”

Ceri Smart, Strategic Commander at the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) said:

“We were called at 06.01hrs on Tuesday 17 January to a road-related incident involving a double-decker bus on the A39 Quantock Road, near Bridgwater.

“We declared a major incident, instigated our Incident Response Plans and mobilised 23 double-crewed land ambulances, two critical care teams, and two hazardous area response teams to the scene. A number of managers, officers and support staff from across the Trust also supported our response. We conveyed 54 casualties to three healthcare facilities: Musgrove Park and Southmead Hospitals and Bridgwater Minor Injury Unit.

“All patients have now been conveyed from the scene and the major incident has been stood down.

“I would like to thank our team and partner agencies for their swift response to this incident and for delivering the best possible care to the casualties involved.

“Please continue to take care while travelling today, the conditions are still hazardous due to the freezing overnight temperatures and residual water on the road from the past week’s wet weather.”

A spokesman from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said:

“Officers were called just after 6am today (Tuesday 17 January) to A39 Quantock Road, in Bridgwater to attend an incident involving an overturned double-decker bus.

“Our crews supported this incident as a multi-agency incident alongside police and ambulance services.

“We sent two fire engines from Bridgwater station along with a heavy rescue vehicle from Taunton. On arrival, we mobilised two further two engines from Taunton, one from Burnham-on-Sea and an incident command unit from Street to assist. Crews used hydraulic cutting equipment and small tools to extricate three casualties from the bus.

“For further details about this incident please refer to Avon and Somerset Police who are the lead agency.”

A Hinkley Point C spokesperson said:

“A double-decker bus taking workers to Hinkley Point C was involved in a road traffic incident on the A39 in Bridgwater this morning. The bus was carrying 70 workers and a driver.

“We are grateful to the emergency services for their quick response. Police are still on the scene and leading the investigation. They are recovering the damaged vehicle with a view to opening the road later this afternoon.

“We are supporting those affected and our thoughts are with all involved.

“Safety of our workforce is of paramount importance to us, and we will assist the police as they investigate the cause of the incident.”

A Somerset County Council spokesman said:

“Our winter service team closely monitors the forecast in advance and all roads on Somerset’s precautionary gritting network are treated when temperatures are forecast to fall below zero. This is 21 per cent of the County’s roads and includes all major routes.

“All main routes were gritted yesterday afternoon before temperatures dropped and there was a further gritting operation across the county the following morning.

“The recent wet weather and standing flood water on roads poses an additional hazard to drivers and significant challenges to our teams.

“It’s important to remember the majority of roads aren’t gritted and never have been. Ice can still form on gritted roads which is why we echo the advice of our Avon and Somerset Police colleagues to only travel when it is necessary and to proceed with extreme caution if you are using our roads.”

A spokesman from NHS Somerset said:

“Following an incident at around 6am this morning on the A39 Quantock Road, the NHS in Somerset has been working closely with local emergency organisations and other relevant agencies involved to coordinate a response.”

“As of 3pm today, 27 patients were treated at the Minor Injuries Unit in Bridgwater and a further 26 were treated at the Emergency Department at Musgrove Park Hospital for injuries consistent with a serious traffic collision. A small number require surgery, and some have been admitted to inpatient wards.  A further three patients were taken to Southmead Hospital, Bristol, where they received treatment, but none have needed to be admitted to hospital.”

“We would like to thank all our colleagues, (including those who came in on their day off) as well as the emergency services who have been involved and supporting today and we wish all patients involved a speedy recovery.”

Travel advice:

Avon and Somerset has seen a large amount of rainfall over the past few weeks and dropping temperatures has resulted in roads across the force area becoming icy.

We are advising the local residents to only travel where absolutely essential, due to the icy road conditions caused by the cold temperatures overnight and the residual water on the road.

Where driving is essential, please take extra precautions and care.

If you do need to travel, we advise drivers to consider the following:

    • Do you have enough fuel to reach your destination if there are long travel delays?

    • Have you checked your oil, coolant and screen wash?

    • Have you checked your tyre tread depth and air pressure?

    • Are you wiper blades able to keep your windscreen clear?

    • Are all of your lights and indicators working (including your fog light)?

For additional advice on how to prepare for winter weather conditions, visit the Met Office website.

If you are travelling, you may wish to pack a winter car kit. Here are some key things to include:

    • Warm clothes and blankets

    • High-visibility clothing

    • An in-car phone charger

    • Ice scraper and de-icer spray

    • Jump leads (for a flat or dead battery)

    • Food and drink

For more advice on packing a winter car kit, click here.