- 11 updates
The driver killed in a coach crash in the French Alps has been named as North East man Maurice Wrightson.
The 64-year-old, who was working for Stanley-based Classic Coaches, was one of two North East employees from the bus company Arriva, who were transporting 52 people back to the UK.
The bus driver who died in a crash in the Alps has been hailed a hero. The driver, who was working for Stanley-based Classic Coaches, is said to have warned passengers there seemed to be a problem before taking evasive action.
The company he worked for released a statement paying tribute to his quick thinking. Investigations are ongoing now into what may have caused the crash.
The owners of a North East coach company said a driver alerted passengers before his vehicle crashed in France last night - which may have saved lives. The driver himself, who was from the North East, was killed.
TGM, which owns Classic Coaches, said the driver tried to take evasive action and paid tribute to his efforts.
The company also paid tribute to a second driver from the North East, who was uninjured, for helping passengers to leave the vehicle.
It added: “It is too early to say what caused the accident, however, we have launched a full investigation and are working closely with the local authorities. Our own safety specialist is attending the scene to support the investigation.”
The coach company whose bus crashed says it is 'deeply saddened' to learn that one of their drivers has died.
The TGM coach was carrying 51 British passengers back to Newcastle, when it crashed in France.
The Managing Director said the company was offering full support to the driver's family.
"Skibound has been informed that one person has died in the accident which happened earlier today in Alpe d’Huez. Regrettably this was one of the two British drivers taking the group of Skibound staff back to the UK at the end of the season.
"Twenty nine passengers have been taken to hospitals in the area - four are being treated for more serious injuries. The further 23 passengers have escaped injury and are now with police and counsellors in a local hotel.
"At the moment, Skibound's priority is to assist the victims of the accident and their relatives and to work with the authorities and medical assistance companies towards their eventual repatriation to the U.K. "
VIDEO: French firefighters are continuing to clear the debris of a coach that crashed and burned on the road from Alpe d'Huez in the French Alps. Brighton company Skibound said it hired the coach, and that 51 people were on board.HELPLINE 01273 244 650
French fire fighters are continuing to clear the debris of a coach that crashed and burned on the road from Alpe d'Huez in the French Alps. Brighton company Skibound said it hired the coach, and that 51 people were on board
Coach crash: we have video of the Skibound offices in Brighton. The 51 passengers travelling from Alpe d'Huez had been on their way home after finishing their ski season working for Skibound in various ski resorts. Also on board the coach were two drivers from the coach company.
Skibound regrets to confirm that a coach travelling from the resort of Alpe d'Huez was involved in an incident, 65 kms from Grenoble in France at approximately 13.45 this afternoon local time.
The 51 passengers travelling from Alpe d'Huez had been on their way home after finishing their ski season working for Skibound in various ski resorts across the French Alps. Also on board the coach were two drivers from the coach company.
One person has been taken by air ambulance to the local hospital. All other passengers are accounted for and are being treated in local hospitals or have been evacuated to a village close by. A special assistance team from Skibound is in place to provide support to those affected.