Firm investigates after bus smashes into Portchester bridge

SMASHED Scenes from the aftermath of the bus crash. Picture: Colin Ryan
SMASHED Scenes from the aftermath of the bus crash. Picture: Colin Ryan
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FIRST Bus has vowed to carry out a thorough investigation into why one of its double-decker buses smashed into a railway bridge.

The roof of the bus was torn off as it ploughed into the bridge over Station Road near Portchester station shortly after 1pm yesterday.

Witnesses were greeted to the shattered remains of the roof lying underneath the bridge as emergency crews dealt with the scene.

Only the driver was on board the bus, which was out of service, as the dramatic incident unfolded.

He was shaken but unharmed and no one else was hurt in the crash.

Fire and ambulance crews were also called to the scene.

The News contacted First Bus and asked why the bus driver may have taken that route and where it was headed.

But the firm refused to comment further, stressing internal investigations need to be carried out.

A First Bus spokesman said: ‘There were no passengers on board the bus at the time, and while the driver was shaken by the incident he was not injured.

‘The exact cause of the incident is not yet known. This will be thoroughly investigated.’

Ashlee-Rose Brisley, 16, of Chichester, was walking across the bridge with her boyfriend Michael Crossman, 16, when the bus hit.

She said: ‘It was like a mini earthquake.

‘We initially thought a train had come off the track – we saw glass everywhere.

‘We were OK because we were above the crash.’

Construction worker Dan Baker, 26, of Station Road, said he was enjoying his day off when the incident happened.

He said: ‘I was just watching a film in my bedroom – I was actually watching Demolition Man, and I heard this loud crash.

‘My room’s upstairs at the front of the house, so I had a perfect view of it.

‘I looked out of the window and I caught it from about mid-way. I saw the back of this double-decker carry on going under the bridge, taking the whole roof off.

‘It was making this huge scraping sound like fingers on a blackboard.

‘There was a warning sign actually on the bridge about its height which he knocked off.

‘The driver did look really shocked.’

A lady, who only lives two doors down from the bridge, but did not want to be named said: ‘I was out in my front garden and just pottering about when I heard this crash, bang, wallop.

‘I ran up there to see if anyone needed help because I know a bit of first aid, but thankfully it was only the driver and he was OK.

‘There was a man coming down on a bike from the opposite direction when it all happened and he told me he was waving at the driver to try and stop him, but the driver only waved back.’

Bridge not damaged by double-decker hit

THE bridge which took the full force of the double-decker bus was not damaged in the incident, Network Rail has confirmed.

Engineers were quick to inspect it following the incident, which happened at 1.06pm.

They found no signs of damage to the bridge or the railway line.

Scratch marks could be seen on height warning chevrons over the top of the bridge and broken glass was swept to the side of the side of Station Road below.

The road was closed by police.

Normal service resumed on the line at 1.37pm, a Network Rail spokesman confirmed.

Engineers were there until about 2.30pm.

A spokesman for Hampshire County Council said a highways official was in the area at the time of the crash and travelled to the bridge to inspect the incident.

They found there was no damage to the road and left the scene in the hands of police officers.