Edinburgh College bus crash man fights for life

Police have closed the road.
Police have closed the road.
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A DRIVER is fighting for his life after a horror smash with a coach carrying a load of college students.

Police are appealing for information after teenager Robbie Thomson was seriously injured following an incident involving a coach and two cars in Longniddry.

The 18-year-old was transferred to Western General Hospital and remains in a stable but critical condition.

He was cut free from his Ford Fiesta, which collided with another car and then the bus at a known accident blackspot in Longniddry.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene after the three-vehicle crash just before 8am yesterday morning.

The A198 was closed for nearly five hours – forcing many pupils of nearby Preston Lodge High School to spend the day at home.

Eyewitnesses said the Fiesta hit a Lexus before bounding into the stationary coach, which was carrying 12 Edinburgh College students.

They told how wild weather and clay on the road may have been factors, while community leaders said confusion over speed limits had made the stretch more dangerous to motorists.

One witness said it was “lashing with rain” at the time, with drivers facing “poor visibility”. He added: “There was damage to the right wing of the bus and one of the cars was quite badly damaged too.”

Police kept the road shut until around 12.30pm, with local councillors questioning the safety of the major rural route, which drops quickly from a 70mph carriageway to the 40mph zone where the accident happened.

Longniddry Community Council chairman David Rose said: “It just drops down to 40 as you approach, the signs are all there, but whether people pay attention to it is another matter.”

Peter McKenzie, East Lothian SNP councillor for the Preston/Seton/Gosford ward, said there had been previous accidents in the area because many drivers assumed it was a 70mph zone.

He said: “That’s the problem, you come right at the end of the dual carriageway from 70 to 40 and because human nature, being what it is, people continue to speed.

“Supposing you put signs halfway along saying 50 to 40, it’s not going to happen – people keep going fast until they get to the dual carriageway.

“It’s a difficult one to solve considering the end of the dual carriageway is 100 yards from the first turndown to the housing at Dean Road – the deceleration necessary at that stage is quite severe.”

The man was today in a critical condition at the Western General Hospital, where he was rushed by ambulance after first being treated by paramedics at the scene. Firefighters had to use hydraulic cutting equipment “to extricate” the man from his Fiesta.

Edinburgh College student president Kelly Parry said the coach passengers had been left shaken by the incident.

She said: “Everybody’s absolutely fine – I think there was some road disruption with some clay on the road.

“The students were slightly late for their classes and we will certainly offer support and guidance if they need it.”

Police today urged anyone who witnessed the collision to contact them on 101.