Schoolchildren and driver rescued after bus crashes into ditch

The bus was carrying schoolchildren when it left the road Credit: ITV Meridian

An eyewitness has described the moment he discovered a bus carrying schoolchildren had crashed into a ditch in West Sussex.

Passengers had to be evacuated after the double-decker service ended up stuck at roughly 45 degrees on the side of the road in Sidlesham, West Sussex.

The bus had been transporting around 65 student to the nearby Selsey Academy when it left the road and police were called at about 8.20am.

Eyewitness David Worcester was cycling along the road adjacent to the crash and described the road as particularly narrow. He said "The road would probably take one and a half width of cars.

"Cars going up and down the road have to be aware of something coming in the opposite direction.

"I would suggest a bus would occupy around 60 - 70% of the road.

"If you do get caught up on the verge, you end up veering off to the side. The road is narrow and is twisting, and you often have to edge yourself to the side to let another vehicle pass."

Headteacher Jo Ford and the deputy head went to the scene to attend and assist the emergency services.

Mrs Ford said older pupils helped the younger children who were on board.

Some of the children attended school but some went home with parents.

The driver was treated at the scene for minor injuries and a number of children are understood to have suffered minor injuries, police said.

The reports of injuries were also confirmed by the South East Coast Ambulance Service.

Their spokesman said: "A small number of minor injuries were reported but no-one required further hospital treatment."

Stagecoach South, the operator of the service, has denied that anyone aboard the bus was injured.

The company said they are giving police their full support as the incident is investigated.

As of midday the bus remained stuck in the ditch with tow trucks trying to free it.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "All occupants of the bus, which includes a number of schoolchildren and the driver, have been safely evacuated.

"The driver was treated at the scene by the ambulance service for minor injuries and a number of children are understood to have suffered minor injuries.

"The road has been closed in both directions and inquiries are ongoing into the full circumstances of the incident."