Hainford couple who helped Norwich coach crash victims

A couple who were among the first to arrive at the scene of the horrific Christmas Eve coach crash, near Norwich airport, today told how they helped the victims and directed traffic away from the area.

David and Sheila Gray, of Newton Road, Hainford, were on their way home from delivering Christmas presents in Norwich when they were forced to come to a stop on the Cromer Road by the crash.

They found an overturned single-decker coach, carrying mostly elderly passengers who had been on a tour of north Norfolk.

It had turned over close to the Horsham St Faith junction on the A140, near Norwich International Aiport, at around 3.40pm on Christmas Eve.

'We got there just as it had happened,' 68-year-old Mrs Gray recalled. 'It was so strange; no one was there and cars were still flying past like wild things, so it was still quite dangerous.

'People started to stop and a woman ran past and said she was ringing the police. David and the woman's husband helped break the sky-lights [of the coach] through with a man who had a glass breaker in the back of his car.

'David got into the coach with some of the others and there were people still hanging with the seat belts around their neck. After that I realised that cars were starting to back up behind us so I started trying to turn people back, although some were still trying to squeeze past.

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'My daughter lives in Spain, and had just come back for Christmas so we were going home to see her, and where she lives they are very strict on having the right things in your car.

'So I had two green reflector vests in the boot and put one on and gave David's one to another lady, and we started turning cars around.

'We had to wait a while for the police to get there but once they did, we couldn't move for them. There must have been every police car and every ambulance in Norwich turn up.'

As a result of the crash, 19 people were taken to hospital, and eight were kept in hospital overnight, of which three suffered broken bones.

Mr Gray, 69, was one of the first people to see inside the crashed Galloway Travel coach and added that he was surprised the consequences were not worse, saying: 'It's amazingly lucky that it wasn't worse because when we got in there and people were hanging from their seat belts and the ones who were out of their belts were on top of others.'

Were you also at the scene of the crash? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or on email at david.freezer@archant.co.uk