Three people have been killed and others were left seriously injured in England when a coach thought to be returning from a music festival overturned after hitting a tree on an embankment.

Emergency services were working at the scene after the coach, which was reportedly returning to Merseyside following the Bestival event on the Isle of Wight, left the A3 in Surrey at 11.50pm local time on Monday between the Hindhead tunnel and the exit for Thursley.

No other vehicles were believed to have been involved.

Three people aboard the full 51-seat coach were declared dead at the scene and a fourth passenger was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital with life-changing injuries, Surrey Police said.

Other passengers, some of whom have serious injuries, were taken to various hospitals in the area.

The road was closed in both directions and Surrey Police, Surrey Fire and Rescue and South East Coast Ambulance Service all attended the scene, along with collision investigators.

The coach is understood to have been operated by bus company MerseyPride and Surrey Police are working with their counterparts at Merseyside Police, as well as with the company, to identify the passengers and notify relatives.

Other passengers were taken to a rest centre which was set up nearby by Waverley Council.

The road was expected to remain closed for several hours and diversions were put in place. Motorists were asked to avoid the area until the road reopened.

Inspector Richard Mallett, speaking at the scene to Sky News, said the coach had been full.

“We are dealing with a major incident, a tragic major incident, the coach has gone off the road and had a significant impact with a tree, I think that is the best way to describe it,” he said.

“The bodies are still trapped inside the vehicle. As you can imagine it is a very delicate operation to remove them.

“With all due respect to them, we need to get them out properly.”

He added: “We are confident that there is no-one left in the vehicle alive. Our colleagues from the fire and ambulance service with their specialist teams have been through the vehicle. It is a body recovery operation at this point here.”

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