Survivors, witnesses and relatives of victims tell the story of the tragic bus from Thornaby-on-Tees that took 45 female senior citizens on a mystery trip to the Yorkshire Dales in May 1975.
The bus hit a bridge at Dibbles Bridge, at the bottom of a notoriously steep descent in the Yorkshire Dales, near Hebden in North Yorkshire. It somersaulted and landed by a stream, killing 32 women and the driver.
The programme, Britain’s Worst Road Disaster, is on Together TV on Saturday May 30, at 9pm.
Survivors talk about how the bus picked up speed after the brakes failed.
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Brian Dooks, a Yorkshire Post journalist, was one of the first on the scene and describes how difficult the remote location made the job of rescuing survivors and removing bodies.
Back in Thornaby, relatives of the victims tell of the distress at not knowing whether their loves ones were alive or dead, for in some cases over 24 hours.
For some like the Howsden family it was the press that informed them that their mother had died when they knocked at the door for a comment. The harrowing task of identifying bodies followed for many relatives.
Local farmer Basil Cardus was one of the first on the scene. In the documentary he drives down the notorious Fan Carl Hill which leads to Dibbles Bridge and explains the hazards of this section of the A6265 which has claimed the lives of 44 people over the years, mostly in similar accidents.
John Lowe, whose mother was one of the trip organisers, revisits the Bridge and with his expert knowledge of public transport offers some advice on what could be done to improve safety where she was killed. He is disturbed by how little has been done to improve safety at the bridge.
Although the crash made national news at the time, Dibbles Bridge has largely been forgotten by the nation and the film looks at the efforts of Thornaby Town Council to build a memorial to the victims and restores interest in what remains Britain’s worst road disaster.
Together TV is a broadcaster for social change with four million unique viewers per month. It aims to help people find inspiration to improve their lives and connect with their communities.
Together TV is on Freeview 88, Sky 170, Virgin 269 and Freesat 164.
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