Students from Gorleston fought to save victims of crash on A47 near King’s Lynn which claimed three lives

Police and firefighters at the scene of the crash at East Winch, which claimed three lives. Picture: Matthew Usher. Police and firefighters at the scene of the crash at East Winch, which claimed three lives. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Thursday, March 27, 2014
9:25 AM

Students fought in vain to save the lives of three people killed in a head-on crash on the A47.

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MP campaigned for limit to be lowered

The crash happened on a single-carriageway stretch of the A47 where the speed limit is currently 50mph.

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said the limit should be reduced to 40mph.

“I’ve been pushing to have that stretch reduced to 40, I think there’s a strong case for having it reduced to 40,” he said. “We don’t yet know what caused this accident, but speed does kill.

“Any injury or loss of life is tragic. My heart-felt sympathy goes out to the relatives of the victims.

“There are lessons to be learned and improvements which must be made.”

Lynn Road resident Helen Nicolson, who moved to East Winch in October last year, said: “People just speed along this road. I think the drivers get frustrated when they get stuck behind slower drivers and then they take risks, it is dangerous.”

Neighbour Klwinder Anota, who has lived there for five years said: “It is getting worse, an accident seems to happen nearly every other day, every week. My son told me that there had been an another accident. There does need to be a bypass.”

The two men and a woman were in a car which was in collision with a lorry at East Winch, near King’s Lynn, just after 11am yesterday.

While they have not been named, the three deceased are understood not to come from Norfolk. They are understood to be a middle-aged couple and a man in his 30s. The lorry driver escaped with minor injuries, which did not require hospital treatment.

The three deaths brings the toll on the road in Norfolk to 64 since 2005. The triple tragedy also led to fresh calls for the A47 to be dualled.

Thirteen students and three teachers from East Norfolk Sixth Form Centre, in Gorleston, were travelling yards behind the car when the crash happened.

The party were on their way to Derbyshire for a field trip as part of their uniformed services course.

Teacher Neil White, who was driving the minibus, said: “It happened right in front of us. Suddenly, we saw the car in front of us swerve out and hit the oncoming lorry. We all jumped out of our mini bus and immediately began first aid.”

Fellow teacher Emma Chambers said: “We are now coming back down to earth, the realisation of what has happened is sinking in and what else could have happened.

“We are no longer going to Derbyshire and getting the students home as there are some anxious parents.”

The minibus which was carrying the students braked hard when the car collided with the lorry, resulting in another minibus carrying their luggage shunting them from behind.

College principal Daphne King said the trip had now been cancelled and the party would be returning home.

“The young people are very distraught,” she said. “They were with people when they were dying.”

The students, who are aged between 17 and 19, hope to have a career in the fire service or police when they complete their course.

Land and air ambulances were sent to the scene of the crash, which happened near the Carpenter’s Arms pub.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “We were called to a road traffic collision between a car and a lorry on the A47 near East Winch.

“We sent three ambulances, an ambulance officer, two rapid response cars, and East Anglian Air Ambulance to the scene. Unfortunately despite the best efforts of all of the emergency services, three people were sadly pronounced dead at the scene.”

Police are still investigating the cause of the collision. Insp Bruce Gent, of Norfolk police, said: “At this stage I cannot tell you much apart from there has been a collision between a lorry and a car.

“There were also two minibuses that were driving close by behind the car, but the passengers are not hurt.

“We have done thorough investigations which have involved videos, photos and a reconstruction.”

The A47 was closed for more than six hours. Drivers faced long diversions via Downham Market and A134 and A1101, or the A149 and B1145 Gayton roads.

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