UK

M62 Crash Victim Bethany Jones 'Will Never Be Forgotten' Say Family

27/04/2013 15:17 BST | Updated 27/06/2013 10:12 BST

The family of a woman killed in a crash as she travelled to a hen party have said she will never be forgotten.

Bethany Jones, 18, was killed and eight women seriously injured when the minibus they were travelling in collided with a lorry on the M62, near Pontefract, West Yorkshire yesterday.

Tributes have flooded in for the teenager. Her family said: "Beth was a fun and bubbly girl who was caring and considerate to everyone she met. She was the apple of her grandad's eye and she will never be forgotten and sadly missed by everyone."

m62 crash

Her family said they will never forget Bethany

In total 21 women were injured, including the bride-to-be, named in reports as Stefanie Firth, after the group set out from nearby South Elmsall to travel to Liverpool.

The driver of the lorry was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has been released on bail, West Yorkshire Police said.

Of the eight women critically injured, one is in intensive care while seven are described as being in a "serious but stable" condition, a force spokesman said.

The crash, which happened at about 11.30am, left the minibus on its side across a carriageway and luggage strewn across the motorway.

Six air ambulances were called to the scene, close to junction 32 on the westbound carriageway, and four took casualties to nearby hospitals.

Firefighters called the crash "the worst they had seen in a number of years", Dave Walton, assistant chief fire officer at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said.

Tributes and messages of support flooded on to Facebook.

m62 crash

Firefighters called the crash 'the worst they had seen in a number of years'

One of the group, Ashleigh Warner, had expressed her excitement about the planned hen party just hours earlier on the social networking site.

She wrote on her Facebook page: "Jumping on the Liverpool status bandwagon ......... Cos I'm sooooooo excited had my tshirt on since 8 this morning:))) hope Stefanie Firth has the best time xxxx"

Holly Jackson wrote on Ms Jones' Facebook page: "RIP Beth hope ur family are holding up. Xx"

Alexandra Wood wrote on Ms Warner's Facebook page: "Get well soon ash, thinking of you and your family xxx"

Emma Simon wrote: "Thinking of you all Ash, hope you all make a quick recovery xx"

Emma Long added: "We hope your ok, thinking of you and everyone else involved at this sad and difficult time."

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Six air ambulances were used in the rescue operation

South Elmsall resident Doreen Gray, 70, described seeing the group of women get onto the minibus near the town's bus station half an hour before the collision.

"They were all wearing pink, that's what caught my eye. They were all in great spirits so it's devastating to hear what has happened," she told the Pontefract and Castleford Express.

One patient, a woman in her 40s, suffered suspected serious chest injuries and was anaesthetised before being transported, while another was airlifted to hospital also with chest injuries.

m62 crash

The women were on their way to a hen party

Police said an off-duty officer was the first person to report the accident and stayed at the scene to help, while members of the public also helped to give first aid.

Dr David Macklin, from Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said that crews were faced with "a very difficult scene with multiple seriously injured people", but he praised their "excellent and professional response".

Jon Trickett, MP for nearby Hemsworth, tweeted his condolences, saying: "My heart goes out to all in the M62 accident, their friends and family. What should have been a weekend of fun & laughter now a tragedy."

Police have urged anyone who is concerned about a family member or who witnessed the crash to contact them on 101.