Twelve passengers hospitalised after top deck of bus shorn off
Twelve people had to be hospitalised when a double-decker bus smashed into a bridge, ripping its roof completely off.
Eyewitnesses said they heard "a loud bang" before seeing smoke bellowing from the bus which had gone "off-route" in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
The bus, which was carrying 25 people, hit the structure near Rochdale railway station at about 12.20pm yesterday.
Video footage taken from the aftermath shows people on the top deck slowly stand up before assessing the devastation around them.
The roof of the bus was left lying in the road with its top-deck seat tops clearly visible and surrounded by broken glass.
One witness helped the casualties as they alighted the bus, fearing those on the top deck could have been beheaded.
It is believed the bus had been travelling from Manchester bound for Rochdale.
Eleven people were taken to the Rochdale Infirmary and Royal Oldham Hospital by ambulances, with a 12th injured person making their own way to hospital.
A bystander, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We heard a really loud bang and we ran over and we could see a lot of smoke coming from the bus and the roof was on the floor.
"You see the first person come off and he was full of blood, his jaw and mouth - when you see that you think the worst for those on top.
"There were passengers on the top of the bus on the floor and you can see them stand up - about five or six.
"The bus driver, she was hysterical, she was panicking and crying.
"One woman was shivering and one lady was being helped off - you can see the blood on her face. People were crying, there were loads of them," he said.
One man in his 20s suffered "more serious facial injuries" while others sustained what police said were minor injuries.
A spokesman for First, the company operating the service, said that an investigation was now under way.