17 injured as coach overturns on M40 slip road in heavy fog

Seventeen people were hurt when a coach veered off a motorway slip road and overturned while driving through heavy fog.

The male driver and 16 men and women passengers suffered injuries including broken bones, cuts and bruises when the Oxford Bus Company coach crashed off the northbound slip road at junction 7 of the M40 near Milton Common in Oxfordshire at 2.45am on Friday.

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) said “thick fog” had made access to the scene more difficult and Thames Valley Police said the road was to close for several hours.

It follows a fog warning to drivers covering swathes of England, and the crash happened just 20 miles (32km) from a fatal pile-up on the A40 in Oxfordshire in similarly treacherous conditions on Wednesday morning.

An SCAS spokesman said: ” South Central Ambulance Service declared this a major incident due to the number of patients involved and attended the scene with our colleagues from Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“There was thick fog in the area at the time of the accident which also presented challenges to the emergency services getting to the scene.”

Six ambulances helped take the 17 casualties to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

The Met Office said “freezing fog” had settled in patches of the country and poor visibility could persist into Friday afternoon.

On Friday morning, Met meteorologist Emma Sillitoe said: “The main thing we have had is large, dense freezing fog patches.

“People driving around in the morning should take care on the roads.”

Visibility could be as low as 100 yards (metres) and ice could develop on the roads, she added.

The “yellow” fog warning, issued until 10am on Friday, affects much of southern England but patches of freezing fog had been witnessed from the Midlands and the Humber to the South West.

The fog is set to lift and thin slowly and could linger into the late morning and early afternoon, particularly in the South East and East Anglia, the Met Office said.

On Thursday, temperatures dipped to freezing levels in areas such as Suffolk, Gloucestershire, Cumbria, Devon and northern Scotland.

The AA urged “extreme caution” for those heading out on the roads, adding that extra time should be allowed, tyres properly inflated and windscreens adequately de-iced.

Spokesman Ian Crowder said on Thursday: “We have got the worst possible conditions really, of fog and icy roads, and that can be lethal.

“I think the message is extreme caution and to prepare for the worst and make sure all windows are clear.”

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