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Coach driver lost consciousness, police said
THE DRIVER of a coach that overturned on the M3 near Fleet services lost consciousness moments before the crash, police said.
The accident took place on the southbound carriageway at 6pm on Sunday evening, between Fleet services and junction 4a. The Dutch-registered coach came off the road and fell into an embankment.
Eight people, including the bus driver, were taken to either Basingstoke or Frimley Park Hospital. All but two have since been discharged.
The coach was taking 26 Dutch passengers to Southampton so they could join a cruise.
Sergeant Lyndon Barrett, of the Whitchurch Roads Policing Unit, said: “There were 26 passengers on board, plus the driver. The driver had become unwell and lost consciousness and the vehicle left the carriageway.
“Passengers have been conveyed to hotels in Southampton where they will meet a cruise ship.”
A total of 14 ambulances were sent to the scene.
Firefighters from Basingstoke, Hartley Wintney and Rushmoor also helped rescue some of the passengers from the coach.
Firefighter Lee Challis, from Basingstoke fire station, helped to rescue one female passenger by removing a coach seat at the back of the bus.
He said: “The whole bus was on a 45 degree angle. It was not your standard extrication but what we did was more of a precaution. She had been asleep when the coach tipped over.”
The southbound carriageway was closed for several hours on Monday night, with traffic diverted on to the A30.