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Catholic school party escapes coach crash on M11

Staff and pupils of St Aloysius' College, Glasgow, had a fortunate escape yesterday morning when their coach was involved in an accident on the M11 in Cambridgeshire.  The vehicle was returning to Scotland from France where the party of 44 pupils and four staff had visited a number of venues offering educational opportunities in science, technology and other themes.

"At around 5am I was awake and then felt and heard an enormous bang on the near-side front of the bus where I was sitting," said Chaplain, Fr Gerard Gallen SJ. "I saw the windscreen shatter and the driver struggling to gain control as we mounted, what I later learned to be, the near side crash barriers, at this point I knew the coach was careering out of control.  For two to three minutes all I could do was pray and I did so handing it all over to the Lord."

Incredibly, none of the pupils was hurt: one of the members of staff sustained minor injuries.  Father Gallen praised the reaction of the pupils and staff who, he said, "deserve the highest praise for the way they reacted under extremely difficult circumstances." The Jesuit Chaplain also commended the coach driver for keeping control of the steering wheel.

"I'm informed by the salvage experts that the force of the impact as we mounted the barriers ripped of the gear box and engine (and the septic tank!); as such the coach is a write-off."

Source: St Aloysius' College