M53 school bus crash: Survivor describes ‘shock’ and flashbacks after death of student Jessica Baker and driver Stephen Shrimpton | UK News

A teenager who was on the coach which overturned in a fatal crash on the M53 in Cheshire says he is “happy to be alive”.

Speaking to Sky News anonymously, he recalled how what started as a normal school day on Friday turned into a tragedy.

“We were all just chatting on our phones,” he said. “Then all of sudden, nothing seemed real. I stood up because I felt something really weird, then all of sudden getting thrown to the side. The bus had tipped.”

Jessica Baker, a 15-year-old pupil at West Kirby Grammar School and bus driver, Stephen Shrimpton, died after the vehicle overturned on the motorway on Friday morning.

Mr Shrimpton, 40, was “suffering medical issues” while at the wheel, his sister-in-law Emily wrote on a crowdfunding page.

Jessica Baker and Stephen Shrimpton
Jessica Baker and Stephen Shrimpton died in the crash

Police said 58 people were involved in the crash. Four children were taken to hospital, one of whom, a 14-year-old boy, is said to have sustained life-changing injuries.

Pupils from West Kirby Grammar School and Calday Grange Grammar School were onboard.

‘People lying down everywhere’

After the bus hit a central reservation, the teenager told Sky News he eventually managed to climb through the smashed front window, but says what he saw was distressing.

“I looked around and there’s just people lying down everywhere. Bags are everywhere,” the pupil said.

West Kirby all-girls grammar school.
Flowers left at West Kirby all-girls grammar school.

“There’s glass everywhere. And it’s just like blood everywhere. I’ve seen both my mates on the floor, but I thought they were dead.

“I looked around again and saw a girl stood next to me. I was in shock, I put my hand on my face. I looked back at my hand and it was covered in blood, I remember saying, this can’t be my blood.”

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Some of the students were eventually taken to nearby hospitals, while others were taken to an emergency services training centre in Wallasey, with 13 treated for minor injuries.

The pupil Sky News spoke to says he was certain no other students had died, so it came as a shock when he heard that Jessica had lost her life.

‘Just a horrible thing to think about’

The pair knew each other, and he described her as friendly.

“Obviously it could have been me in that position” he said. “She’s basically my age really, it’s just a horrible thing to think about.”

Emergency services at the scene of a coach crash on the M53 motorway, between junction 5 at Ellesmere Port and junction 4 at Bebbington. The coach was carrying schoolchildren to Calday Grange Grammar School and West Kirby Grammar School for Girls. Picture date: Friday September 29, 2023.

The teenager has been to A&E for his physical injuries but says the mental impact of what happened is causing flashbacks, including when in the car, and when there are sudden noises.

His overall feeling though, is that he is incredibly lucky.

“A couple of hours after it had happened, when I was sat upstairs. I’d realised it was crazy, I still don’t know how, like, I got up so quick and things like that and I don’t know how I wasn’t screaming, crying,” he added.

“I think I was subconsciously happy to be alive. Happy to be where I am now.”