Three die in Bestival crash

Scene of the crash this lunchtime. Photo: ITV Meridian

Three people have been killed and 50 injured, some of them seriously, as a coach returning from a music festival overturned after hitting a tree on an embankment in Surrey.

Emergency services were working at the scene to remove the dead from the coach which was heading back to the Merseyside area following the Bestival event on the Isle of Wight.

Police said the coach was travelling north on the A3 near Hindhead at 11.50pm on Monday when it left the road between the Hindhead tunnel and the exit for Thursley. No other vehicles are believed to have been involved.

Coach company Merseypride Travel has offered its "deepest condolences to the bereaved".

An organiser of Bestival said: "This is devastating news, our thoughts are with the relatives of those affected by this tragic incident. We are currently liaising with Surrey Police to establish the facts."

Three people aboard, including the driver, were declared dead at the scene and a fourth passenger was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital with life-changing injuries, Surrey Police said.

South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) said 50 people from the coach - all the survivors - were taken to hospitals around the region, some of them with serious injuries.

One patient from the crash remains in a serious condition in Southampton General Hospital.

Inspector Richard Mallett, of Surrey Police, briefing reporters at the scene, said it was not believed that road conditions or the weather were a factor in the crash.

Casualties were taken to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey, St George's Hospital in Tooting, King's College Hospital in London, Frimley Park Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.

The coach is understood to have been operated by the company MerseyPride and Surrey Police are working with their counterparts in Merseyside, as well as with the company, to identify the passengers and notify relatives. Some passengers were taken to a rest centre set up nearby by Waverley Council.

The road is expected to remain closed for several hours and diversions have been put in place. A casualty bureau number has been set up and people concerned about passengers on board the coach should call 0800 056 0154.