A DOUBLE decker school bus carrying 15 pupils crashed into a tree in Worcester, damaging the tree so badly it had to be cut down.

The Astons Coaches bus crashed into the tree on Battenhall Road at around 8.30am this morning.

No-one was seriously hurt in the incident but windows downstairs and up were smashed and the tree was split in half.

The bus was carrying year seven to 11 pupils to Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College from the Fernhill Heath area.

There have been unconfirmed reports the bus swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle.

The bus was travelling along Battenhall Road in the direction of the school when the accident happened.

The nearside corner of the bus hit the tree and the top and bottom windows of the bus were smashed on impact.

Neither police nor ambulance crews attended.

A 16-year-old female who was aboard the bus at the time was downstairs near the window that shattered and believes the bus swerved to avoid an oncoming car, hitting the tree which was on the same side of the road as the bus.

She said: “It all happened in a flash. People got covered in glass but nobody left the bus with any serious injuries. A couple of people had scratches and headaches and achy necks.”

She said more people were covered in glass on the top deck than the bottom and a girl in front of her was showered in glass but ‘wasn’t crying’.
“She was quite calm about it. I was shaken up. My main concern was for people who had glass on them. I wanted to make sure they got seen to by our first aiders at school.”

Another pupil tweeted: “It was the S5 bus, seven people at least are hurt, possibly more.”

Sean Devlin, headteacher at the school, said: “They’re all okay. The bus was full. They’re just a bit shaken up and some of them were covered in glass and there were a couple of scratches.

"We have contacted the parents of any child who was a bit shocked or upset or who had minor cuts within about 20 minutes. None of them had to go home. It happened very near the school. The vast majority went to their lessons.”

Tree surgeons from Worcester City Council had to cut down the tree, a London Plane which has stood there since Victorian times, to make it safe.

John Hancock, an aboricultural supervisor working for Worcester City Council, said the tree would have stood there since Victorian times when horses and carts rather than double decker buses on the roads.

Mr Hancock said: “We were on site almost immediately. We hear about branches getting knocked off trees but not whole trees being obliterated. It’s down to Highways (Worcestershire County Council) to replace it. It is pretty rare for something like this to happen.

Chris Holloway, Worcestershire County Council's planning manager for sustainable transport, said: We are aware of the incident which occurred on Battenhall Road close to the school this morning. We have been in touch with both the school and operator and are satisfied that it was an innocent accident.  None of the 15 students on board sustained any serious injury, there were a few with minor cuts.  Sean Devlin, the Principal of Blessed Edwards, attended the scene and has contacted their parents to let them know personally."

A spokesman for Astons Coaches said they were investigating the incident.