A school bus carrying young British children to a theme park field trip was involved in a serious accident while it was traveling en route from Belgium to Germany on the morning of Sunday, July 28, 2015, leaving several injured and killing the bus driver. The crash took place in northwestern Belgium on the E40 highway near Middelkerke, with more than 30 students on board at the time of the accident. Six teachers were also on board. The students and teachers were attendees and staff of Brentwood School, a private educational and boarding facility based out of Essex, England.
The ages of the students on the bus at the time of the incident range from 11 to 13 years. One child was reported as having a traumatic head injury and a brain bleed resulting from a skull fracture caused by the impact of the crash. The administrators of the school are in contact with the Foreign Office in an attempt to expedite the homecoming of the children and staff involved in the crash. The bus driver’s identity has been confirmed as James Chance of Northern Ireland, and Northern Ireland-based Richmond Coaches released a statement confirming that it was one of their buses that had been involved in the tragic accident.
At least 15 injuries resulted from the accident, whose cause is still under investigation by Belgian authorities. In all, more than 40 people were traveling on the bus at the time of the accident. The bus left the roadway for undetermined reasons and ended up smashing into an overpass bridge pillar before finally coming to a halt. When first responders arrived, they found the bus lying on its side in a grassy area just to the side of the guardrail. Witnesses to the crash reported that the bus did not appear to attempt to brake before hitting the pillar, leading to speculation about the possibility of Chance having had an unexpected medical issue.
The investigation remains ongoing at this time.