Rugby team help rescue trapped motorists in A27 car-crash blaze

A rugby team put in a heroes' performance off the field by rescuing trapped motorists as a car burst into flames after a collision on the A27.

A27 MINI BUS CRASH LEWES SUS-161022-164353001
A27 MINI BUS CRASH LEWES SUS-161022-164353001

Pulborough Rugby Club’s 1st XV were heading to Eastbourne for their London 3 South East league game in the town on Saturday when they were caught up in the dramatic events on the dual-carriageway.

The Lewes Priory westbound carriageway was closed after a white Iveco minibus and a white Mercedes C class collided between Southerham roundabout and Kingston roundabout, according to police.

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Both vehicles overturned upon impact, resulting in the Mercedes catching fire.

Photo Eddie Mitchell

Luckily the Pulborough team were travelling in the opposite direction and jumped out of their minibus to come to the aid of those stuck in the burning vehicles.

Players Gus Oliphant-Hope and Sam Aviss, both 22 and from Findon, then tackled the blaze before the emergency services arrived.

Pulborough captain Simon Burfiend praised the team for their quick actions in life-threatening circumstances and said they had done the club proud.

The 24-year-old, from Steyning, revealed: “It was an interesting journey for the boys on the Pulborough bus at the weekend. Whilst travelling along the A27 towards Lewes, a Mercedes and a 32-seater bus began rolling down the opposite carriageway, only to come to a stop right next to the minibus.

“The car immediately burst into flames and the boys on our bus jumped out to lend a hand. After getting out the woman from the burning car, players Gus Oliphant-Hope and Sam Aviss began tackling the ever-growing fire whilst the rest of the boys helped to free the man stuck inside.

“Luckily the fire was put out and things seemed to be stable whilst the emergency services arrived. Everyone on board did a fantastic job, and I’m sure helped in stopping the fire spreading whilst potentially putting themselves at risk.

“It was not the best start to a game day with all that adrenaline going but credit to the boys, who did the club proud.”

Police say, the driver of the Mercedes, a 50-year-old man from Seaford received serious injuries, and was taken to the Royal Sussex hospital in Brighton where he received treatment, while the driver of the minibus, a 51-year-old man from Dagenham, received minor injuries.

The A27 was closed for several hours while the emergency services provided emergency care to the injured people and began an investigation.

Police thanked members of the public who stopped and assisted at the scene and for the patience of those who were stuck in traffic while the road was closed.

Despite arriving late, Pulborough went on to comprehensively win their match at Eastbourne 44-17 and remain unbeaten at the top of the table.

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