Tributes have been paid to a coach driver from the North East who died in a crash in the French Alps. The Classic Coaches vehicle was carrying ski resort staff back to the UK from Alpe d'Huez, with Newcastle being its final destination.
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 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.
We are deeply saddened to learn that one of our two drivers on board has died. We are offering our full support to his family and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time. He will be sadly missed by everyone at Classic Coaches. A number of passengers have sustained injuries and our thoughts are with them as they recover. Early indications are that our driver tried to take evasive action and that he alerted passengers.
We pay tribute to him for his efforts, and also to our relief driver who helped people to leave the vehicle. 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.
British ski company Skibound has confirmed that a coach driver from the North East has died in a crash in the French Alps.
The vehicle was carrying ski resort staff back to the UK from Alpe d'Huez when it crashed 65km from Grenoble at approximately 1:45pm local time.
The driver was one of two North East employees from the bus company Arriva, who were transporting 52 people back to the UK, with Newcastle as their final destination.
The ski company said 29 passengers have been taken to hospitals in the area, four of which are being treated for more serious injuries. The further 23 passengers have escaped serious injury and are now with police and councillors at a local hotel.
In a statement Skibound said:
At the moment, Skibounds' 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.
The exact cause of the accident is as yet not known and we must await the report from the accident investigation team in France before any comment can be made.