Friday, 17 August 2018

Schoolboys in fight for life

Schoolboys in fight for life

TWO Shiplake College pupils are in a critical condition after they were involved in a car crash.

The 16-year-old boys were rear seat passengers travelling in a green Vauxhall Corsa with two other 16-year-old boys from the independent school when it left the road and hit a tree.

The car finished up in a field off Days Lane, in Ewelme, at about 11.20pm on Saturday.

The pair suffered life-threatening head injuries and one was airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, while the other was taken by road. They both remain in a critical condition. The other two pupils suffered minor injuries and have both been discharged from hospital.

Gregg Davies, headmaster of Shiplake College, told the Henley Standard: “On Sunday morning we received the sad news that four Shiplake College boys were involved in a road accident late on Saturday evening.

“Two boys suffered bruises but, whilst shaken, are otherwise okay and at home. Two others remain in hospital having sustained more serious, unfortunately critical, injuries.

“As you can imagine, their families and friends are devastated. Details of the accident are still emerging and we are not in a position to provide any information about what happened.” Mr Davies said all Shiplake parents were told the news on Sunday evening and pupils were spoken to at registration on Monday.

There was a chapel service just for the boys’ year group that morning during which Mr Davies gave advice and support to the pupils and a prayer tree has been set up in the parish church for pupils to leave messages which will then be passed to the boys’ parents.

He said: “The school chaplain, rector of our parish church, school counsellor, the medical team and all members of staff have been available should a pupil be worried or upset.

“The outpouring of love and support from all those connected to the school has been heartening. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected. This is a difficult time for the community and we ask for sensitivity and patience as we await news ourselves on the condition of those injured.

“Our only priorities at this time are with the boys involved, their families, friends and all our pupils.”

Police are appealing for information about the crash, which happened in the quiet country lane near the junction with Beggarsbush Hill.

Tyre tracks, which have been marked with an orange paint, can be seen on a verge where the car left the road at a right-hand dipping bend. Some debris and glass is still at the scene and undergrowth on the verge had been flattened.

The Thames Valley Air Ambulance, which is based at nearby RAF Benson, was called to the scene. A spokeswoman said: “Thames Valley Air Ambulance were dispatched to the scene to bring advanced medical care to the patients, saving time when it mattered.

“Two patients with life-threatening injuries were taken to the major trauma centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford — one by air and one by road.

“Two further patients in the vehicle had sustained minor injuries and were both taken to the John Radcliffe too.”

A fire engine from Watlington was called to the accident to assist the ambulance services but the casualties were already out of they vehicle by the time they had arrived.

Senior investigating officer Gavin Collier, from Thames Valley Police, said: “Our enquiries are continuing into the circumstances surrounding this incident, but we believe this to have been a single vehicle collision. Before any offences are considered, our priority remains the welfare of the children involved in the collision and supporting their families at this difficult time.”

Senior investigating officer Sergeant Chris Ruff, of the joint operations unit for roads policing based at Abingdon Police Station, added: “This is a very serious collision which occurred in a rural location, which sadly has left two boys with life-threatening injuries.

“I am appealing to anyone who may have seen the incident, or witnessed the vehicle being driven just prior to the collision, to make contact with us.”

Anybody who witnessed the collision, or who has any information that can assist with enquiries should call the police non-emergency number 101, quoting URN 1530 of May 12.

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