Home news Alps crash: Ashington driver 'knew he would crash', says coroner

Alps crash: Ashington driver 'knew he would crash', says coroner


A coach driver who died saving passengers on a mountain road knew he would take the full force of the crash, a coroner has said.When his brakes failed on a road in the Alps, Maurice Wrightson deliberately crashed into a boulder to stop the coach going off the edge of the road.Mr Wrightson, 63, from Ashington, died in the April 2013 crash and four of the 50 passengers were seriously injured. An inquest has concluded he died from multiple injuries caused by the crash.Berwick Coroner’s Court previously heard Mr Wrightson “undoubtedly prevented” a more serious crash.

He was driving 51 British staff from the French ski resort Alpe d’Huez when his coach crashed on the 21st hairpin bend on the D211 road.Coroner Tony Brown said: “Maurice knew that failing to complete the manoeuvre would send the coach and all its passengers off the road and down the mountain side.”He took the brave decision to steer the coach directly into the boulder rocks on the side of the road.”It would have been obvious to Maurice as driver that, by driving into the boulders in order to keep the coach on the road, he would receive the full force of the collision.”French investigators said the cause had been “the failing of the main brake, the pads of which had been completely destroyed by excessive heating”.

Source: BBC Tyne and Wear