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Fatigue likely cause of crash on A47 which killed bus driver and passenger

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A horrific crash on the A47 in which a bus driver and one of his passengers died, has concluded at Peterborough Town Hall.

Cambridgeshire coroner Simon Milburn found that the driver, Michael Elcombe, 45, of Swaffham, was fatigued and probably did not see until the last minute the lorry into which he crashed.

Inquest held after two men died when a double-decker bus and a lorry crashed on the A47 in Cambridgeshire..
Michael Elcombe, 45, of Cley Road, Swaffham, Norfolk, died when the bus he was driving crashed with the lorry at 07:30 BST on Tuesday 26th June 2018 in Guyhirn.
Passenger Brian Chapman, 76, of Cherry Road in Kettering, also died at the scene. Police said 17 other people on the bus were injured. A47, Peterborough Tuesday 26 June 2018. Picture by Terry Harris.

Mr Elcombe was behind the wheel of a First Eastern Counties double decker bus when he collided with the lorry that had pulled out from Bretts Transport near Thorney.

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Inquest held after two men died when a double-decker bus and a lorry crashed on the A47 in Cambridgeshire..
Michael Elcombe, 45, of Cley Road, Swaffham, Norfolk, died when the bus he was driving crashed with the lorry at 07:30 BST on Tuesday 26th June 2018 in Guyhirn.
Passenger Brian Chapman, 76, of Cherry Road in Kettering, also died at the scene. Police said 17 other people on the bus were injured.
A47, Peterborough
Tuesday 26 June 2018.
Picture by Terry Harris.

Inquest held after two men died when a double-decker bus and a lorry crashed on the A47 in Cambridgeshire..
Michael Elcombe, 45, of Cley Road, Swaffham, Norfolk, died when the bus he was driving crashed with the lorry at 07:30 BST on Tuesday 26th June 2018 in Guyhirn.
Passenger Brian Chapman, 76, of Cherry Road in Kettering, also died at the scene. Police said 17 other people on the bus were injured.
A47, Peterborough
Tuesday 26 June 2018.
Picture by Terry Harris.

The resulting crash killed Mr Elcombe, passenger Brian Chapman, 76, of Kettering and left 17 other passengers injured, six with serious injuries.

CCTV evidence taken from inside the bus supported evidence of Mr Elcombe appearing to yawn and being inattentive prior to the crash. Dashcam footage supported the claim that Mr Elcombe failed to act soon enough to prevent him colliding with the lorry.

The crash happened in 2018.

Inquest held after two men died when a double-decker bus and a lorry crashed on the A47 in Cambridgeshire..
Michael Elcombe, 45, of Cley Road, Swaffham, Norfolk, died when the bus he was driving crashed with the lorry at 07:30 BST on Tuesday 26th June 2018 in Guyhirn.
Passenger Brian Chapman, 76, of Cherry Road in Kettering, also died at the scene. Police said 17 other people on the bus were injured. A47, Peterborough Tuesday 26 June 2018. Picture by Terry Harris.

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Dashcam footage showed Mr Elcombe clearly did not notice presence of lorry even though it was an obvious obstruction, the inquest heard.

Two years, at a pre-inquest review, Mr Milburn had first been told that Mr Elcombe may have previously been involved in what was termed an “incident of micro sleeping or nodding off”.

Aerial images of fatal A47 Bus and HGV Collision, A47, Guyhirn Tuesday 26 June 2018.
Picture by Terry Harris.

During the review, representatives on behalf of Bretts had questioned when Mr Elcombe had been permitted to continue to drive in light of the previously reported incident.

Eastern Counties, also represented at the review, explained that Mr Elcombe had undergone the correct training and assessments when he joined the firm, and no concerns had been highlighted.

Inquest held after two men died when a double-decker bus and a lorry crashed on the A47 in Cambridgeshire..
Michael Elcombe, 45, of Cley Road, Swaffham, Norfolk, died when the bus he was driving crashed with the lorry at 07:30 BST on Tuesday 26th June 2018 in Guyhirn.
Passenger Brian Chapman, 76, of Cherry Road in Kettering, also died at the scene. Police said 17 other people on the bus were injured. A47, Peterborough Tuesday 26 June 2018. Picture by Terry Harris.

Mike Atkins, representing First Eastern Counties, said that Mr Elcombe underwent training and an assessment when he joined the company in 2004, and no concerns were raised.

The coroner said “drowsiness or fatigue” remained the likely causes of the fatal crash.

 

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