Marking the 45th anniversary of Britain’s Worst Road Disaster

On May 17th 1975, thirty-three people tragically lost their lives in a bus crash that is often considered Britain’s Worst Road Disaster. The crash occurred at Dibble Bridge when the brakes on a coach carrying mainly elderly passengers failed, sending the coach hurtling over the bridge. 45 years on since the crash, this documentary looks back at the disastrous event and the consequences that rocked the community of Thornaby, as well as asking if our roads have actually become any safer over four decades on. Britain’s Worst Road Disaster will air on Together TV Saturday 11thJuly at 9pm


The documentary will share the first-hand accounts of survivors, witnesses and relatives; all of whom are still greatly impacted by the event several decades on. Campers and holidaymakers will recount how they witnessed the crash from nearby fields; many of them attempted to assist the victims, even waiting for three hours until every victim was removed from the bus. Some of these holidaymakers, such as Lincoln Seligman, never returned to the area again after the witnessing the harrowing event.



We will also hear more details of the crash itself from survivors, including Margeret Robinson (pictured above); they explain that the bus picked up tremendous speed after the brakes failed as they headed downhill towards Dibble Bridge. Relatives of the victims also recall being left in limbo as they waited to hear whether their loved ones were alive or dead. In some cases, this took over 24 hours, with families such as the Howsdens eventually learning of their mother’s death through the press. 


Re-visiting Dibble Bridge, locals such as farmer Basil Cardus note that very little has changed on the road since the dreadful crash. John Lowse, a public transport expert whose mother organised the ill-fated trip 45 years ago, is also concerned by the lack of road improvements or measures to improve the safety of the bridge. The community Thornaby continues to grieve and has erected a memorial in the village to commemorate those who lost their lives; but they would also like to see action taken on adjusting the steep gradient of the bridge, which caused the bus to pick up such tremendous speed. By marking the 45thanniversary of the crash at Dibble Bridge, survivors, relatives and locals all hope to bring some attention back to the road disaster and raise awareness of this ongoing issue.


You can learn more about Britain’s Worst Road Disaster on Together TV Saturday 11thJuly at 9pm.


Brilliant charity Road Peace provide information and support services to people bereaved or seriously injured in road crashes and engage in evidence-based policy and campaigning work to fight for justice for victims and reduce road danger. They do great work to help reduce events such as that seen at Dribble Bridge. To find out more about how Road Peace are helping to prevent crashes, support victims and campaign for change, check out their website.


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