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‘One of the most terrifying moments of my life’: Barking couple demand answers into coach crash

PUBLISHED: 19:00 02 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 09 January 2019

Ahmad Jamal and Soraia Sahel want answers about the coach crash they were involved in. Picture: Irwin Mitchell

Ahmad Jamal and Soraia Sahel want answers about the coach crash they were involved in. Picture: Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell

A pregnant woman and her husband who were injured when the coach they were travelling on overturned have said that they “deserve answers” about what caused the crash.

Ahmad Jamal and Soraia Sahel, from Barking, were travelling home after attending a friend’s wedding in Germany when the coach, travelling on the E40 motorway, collided with a concrete structure and went onto its side near the Belgian town of Aalter, located between the cities of Ghent and Bruges.

They were among 21 passengers on the vehicle, which displayed the branding of French firm Ouibus but was a National Express service operated by Dutch company Oostenrijk Touringcars, with some of them now instructing legal firm Irwin Mitchell to get answers into what caused the July 25 crash.

Soraia, 25, explained: “All of a sudden the coach hit what appeared to be a concrete structure and turned on its side.

“It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I was so scared and being pregnant all I could think of was my baby.

“Being involved in the crash was just a nightmare and I was so relieved to get out of the coach.”

Both she and Ahmad, 23, escaped with only cuts and bruises and their baby was not hurt. Ahmed also needed to take time off work to recover.

“Wreckage was all over the motorway and the coach’s windscreen was smashed in,” he said.

“It took a couple of seconds for everything to sink in. People were screaming and shouting for help and others were stuck at the back of the coach.

“While we both feel lucky to be alive, we feel we deserve answers regarding what happened and whether it could have been avoided.”

Irwin Mitchell is looking for people who were on the Amsterdam to London coach at the time or who have information about the crash.

Philip Banks, who is representing the passengers, said: “Our clients are still reeling from the physical and psychological toll this incident has taken on them and they understandably want to know what steps will be taken to prevent such a crash from happening again.

“We are determined to help them get the answers they deserve and, as part of our investigations, we would like to hear from any other passengers who were on the coach at the time of the collision and may be able to help us establish how this happened.”

Anyone with information should contact Kaz Khan on 0121 203 5534 or email kaz.khan@irwinmitchell.com

When approached for comment, Ouibus referred the Post to National Express, who said: “On July 25 last year, a coach operated by Dutch company Oostenrijk Touringcars on behalf of National Express was involved in an incident in Belgium which sadly resulted in injury to some of the passengers and driver onboard.

“We immediately responded to support the passengers involved. Our thoughts remain with all those affected. We are working closely with Oostenrijk Touringcars and their insurers to respond to any claims as quickly as possible.”

Oostenrijk Touringcars have not responded to a request for comment.

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