Road Traffic Accident In Norway
A Dunstable couple who were amongst a number of British holidaymakers injured when the coach they were travelling in crashed in Bergen, Norway on 15th July 2008, are planning to take legal action.
The majority of the British passengers on board the coach were holidaymakers on board the Aurora cruise ship which had docked in the Norwegian port. The day trip to Bergen was organised by their tour operator, P&O.
It is believed that the accident was caused when the driver of the coach lost control of the vehicle resulting in many of those on board sustaining injuries.
One passenger, Brian Swann (61), from Dunstable, said: "It was an accident waiting to happen. It was raining and the driver was driving too fast for the weather conditions. I saw him go through a red light and he was driving far too close to the vehicles in front. He then lost control of the coach as we were going round an ‘S’ bend. The coach veered off the side of the road and toppled down an embankment.
"The coach was only stopped from going over onto its side because it came to rest against a large rock. My wife (Diane) and I suffered cuts and bruises and I also injured my back as a result of the accident. I am still receiving physiotherapy for this. I am thankful to be alive, but it has been a very traumatic experience".
Clive Garner, head of travel law specialists, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who is representing Mr Swann and his wife, said: "This was an awful accident and is, unfortunately, one of many coach crashes abroad that we are currently dealing with on behalf of passengers who have been injured, often seriously. In nearly all of those cases careless driving has been found to be the major contributory factor.
"Our experience in acting for hundreds of Britons involved in more than 25 coach crashes around the world has taught us that many of these incidents could and should have been avoided. Coach operators and tour operators who subcontract their services have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of passengers. This includes ensuring drivers are appropriately trained and monitored and that coaches are safely maintained. In the scheme of things, these simple improvements will cost little while they will significantly reduce the risks to coach passengers of injury abroad.
"Initial reports point to driver error here. We will be taking legal action on behalf of our clients to claim compensation for their injuries and financial losses. We also hope that our involvement will highlight the problems of coach safety abroad and we ask that urgent action be taken by tour operators and regulators to prevent further accidents like this occurring in the future.
"We are currently making enquiries with the Norwegian police and P&O to obtain more information about the accident and I would urge anyone else involved to contact us."