Girl, 5, fights for life after M1 minibus crash that killed eight in UK

Three minibus passengers, including a five-year-old girl, are fighting for their lives after a motorway crash which killed eight people.

Six men and two women died when the minibus they were travelling in collided with two lorries on the M1.

A man and woman were taken to hospital alongside the young girl, all with life-threatening injuries, Thames Valley Police said.

A fourth person was admitted to hospital with less severe injuries after the collision on the southbound carriageway of the motorway near Newport Pagnell, between junctions 15 and 14.

Some of those on board the minibus, which carried the branding for ABC Travels, run by Cyriac Joseph, based in Nottingham, were visiting the UK from India.

Soyimon Joseph paid tribute to his friend Cyriac, also known as Benny, saying he had seen him the night before the crash.

In a Facebook post he wrote: "Hearty condolences. I never thought yesterday 10 pm you say thank you to me it was our last meeting."

He added: "My dearest friend Benny passed away this morning after a huge road accident happened in M1 in London."

The minibus had been taking a group of people from Nottingham to Wembley in the north west of the capital, Mr Joseph said.

He described the crash as "devastating", saying the father-of-two had been married to his wife Ancy for two decades.

He told the Sunday Mirror: "It is devastating. He and Ancy celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last year. Benny is the perfect driver."

The drivers of the two lorries were arrested in connection with the incident in Buckinghamshire.

A passer-by who stopped his journey home to help assist a young girl trapped in the minibus, said he had given his jacket to the child to keep her warm.

Brett Smith, from Newport Pagnell, streamed a live video of himself on to Facebook, minutes after leaving the scene of the crash.

He said: "There's been a severe accident where a family has been destroyed, and I held a little girl by her arms, trapped inside a vehicle for a good hour or so with the emergency services, the fire service, trying to help get her out."

A 31-year-old man from Worcestershire was arrested on suspicion of one count of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of drink-driving.

A 53-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent is also in custody, on suspicion of one count of causing death by dangerous driving.

Chief Inspector Henry Parsons from TVP's joint operations unit for roads policing, said: "The scene facing the officers who attended was complex and the recovery operation which followed was challenging.

"Tragically eight people lost their lives, with four further people seriously injured, and it is our duty to establish the circumstances of what happened.

"Officers are working to inform the next of kin of the people who died and specially-trained family liaison officers will be offering them their support. Some of those involved were visiting the UK from India and we are working to keep families abroad informed.

"This collision was deeply distressing for the members of the public who witnessed it, along with the emergency service workers who attended and displayed high levels of professionalism."

Emergency services were called shortly before 3.15am on Saturday and the road was closed until the early afternoon to allow recovery work to take place.

Pictures of the vehicles appeared to show a FedEx lorry with its cab crushed and the cab of an AIM Logistics lorry twisted around to the side.

Another image showed what appeared to be the crumpled wreckage of the minibus on the back of a flatbed truck.

Broken glass and debris from the collision was scattered across the tarmac.

Spokesmen for AIM Logistics and FedEx expressed sympathies to those who lost loved ones in the crash, and said the companies were assisting police with their inquiries.

AP

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