Runaway cemetery bus driver quizzed

The scene at Saltwell Cemetery in Gateshead

The scene at Saltwell Cemetery in Gateshead

First published in National News © by

A bus driver has been interviewed by police after he "lost control of his vehicle" and crashed into a cemetery wrecking around 30 graves, his employers said.

Around 15 people were on board the single decker in Gateshead when it hit a stationary vehicle, crashed through railings and careered down a hill, coming to rest on a gravestone.

Operator Go North East said one person needed hospital treatement and others were tended at the scene, although Northumbria Police said none of the injured was badly hurt.

The crash happened at around 11am on Saltwell Road South and involved a number 29 heading north from Kibblesworth to Gateshead centre.

Go North East said: "The driver lost control of his vehicle and went through the railings into the cemetery before coming to a stop.

"The bus was carrying 15 passengers, one of whom has been taken to hospital.

"It's understood there were other non-life threatening injuries.

"The driver has been interviewed by police.

"This is a serious incident and our thoughts are with the passengers and their families at this moment.

"We will carry out a full investigation to established exactly how the accident occurred."

One onlooker estimated the bus had finally come to a stop - with a front wheel resting on a gravestone - around 55 yards (50m) into Saltwell Cemetery.

It was thought around 30 gravestones were damaged in the crash, as the bus ran off the road and down the steep slope.

"The front of the bus is all smashed up," the onlooker - who did not see the crash itself - said.

"There's loads of police here and council workers."

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