Three children hurt in the Winchester school bus crash received "potentially life-changing injuries" in the horrific incident.
Hampshire Police confirmed the trio, aged between 11 and 16, all require surgery as they appealed for information on the driver of a car that passed the bus shortly before it struck the overhead rail crossing, leaving glass and metal strewn across the road.
The double-decker's roof was torn off in the crash shortly before 8.10am on Thursday morning (September 10). Pupils from Henry Beaufort School "started" screaming when the roof fell on top of them, leaving a further 12 needing treatment for more minor injuries.
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Police want to speak to the driver of a blue Ford Focus, registration ending HPX, with a roof rack and cycle carrier, who they believe may be able to help the investigation.
Senior investigating officer Detective Constable Cate Paling said: "This was a serious collision and our investigation will look to identify the exact circumstances.
"We have been working closely with the school and Hampshire County Council to provide support to the students and their parents. We thank everyone for their cooperation.
School kids 'seriously injured' as bus hits railway bridge ‘tearing roof completely off’
“We ask members of the public not to speculate about the incident on social media.
“If you have any information about this collision, please call 101 quoting 44200349165.”
Bus operator Stagecoach South said an investigation was under way. No arrests have been made.
One pupil said "there was blood everywhere" after the incident.
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Poppy, 11, was sitting on the top deck of the bus and said the children had noticed the driver was "going on a completely different route" in the moments before the crash.
She said she was struck by a metal pole while others were hurt by breaking glass.
Poppy added: "There was blood everywhere – everyone was in a rush to get down, but we were all trying to help each other."
Zoe, 14, who was also on the top deck, said: "It felt like 'am I going to live or am I going to die' – everyone was crying and shaking, it was a huge shock."
Hampshire Police's Inspector Andy Tester said it was "very lucky nobody was killed".
He said: "That bus doesn't fit through the bridge – I can't think that a bus route would have been drawn (up) to take it through a bridge that is too low for the bus."
The bridge has a warning sign above it that states vehicles with a height of more than 12ft (3.6m) should not enter.
The bus involved in the crash was believed to be about 14ft (4.3m) in height.
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