Prince Philip crash road under review after five deaths in six years


Five fatal accidents have taken place in six years on the road where the Duke of Edinburgh crashed driving close to Sandringham Estate.

Norfolk County Council is set to discuss the safety of the section of the A149 less than 24 hours after 97-year-old Prince Philip’s Land Rover overturned.

The meeting at 10am on Friday had already been set up to discuss reviewing the current speed limit after 40 accidents – including five fatal – happened on that stretch of road between May 2012 and May 2018.

Councillors will vote on whether to reduce the speed limit from 60mph to 50mph.

Prince Philip was breathalysed – along with the driver of a Kia that was also involved in the collision – in line with police policy after the crash just before 3pm on Thursday.

Both breathalyser tests were negative, Norfolk Police said.

Buckingham Palace confirmed Prince Philip was at the wheel but said he was unhurt.

Although the duke was checked by a doctor, he did not go to hospital and has since returned to Sandringham.

Roy Warne, 75, witnessed the crash and said Philip screamed about pain his legs after the collision.

He told The Sun the Land Rover “came across the A149 like a somersault. It was turning on its side over and over.”

Mr Warne added: “It was frightening to see a powerful car rolling like that.

“I rushed to the other car first – there was smoke coming out as if it may explode.

“There was a baby in the back seat screaming.”

The barrister said he later heard the Duke told police officers he had been “dazzled by the sun”.

Mr Warne, who helped Philip out of his overturned Land Rover, said: “I looked down and had the Prince’s blood on my hands.

“All I could think is, thank goodness there wasn’t more.”

An eyewitness told the Daily Telegraph: “The Duke looked distraught.

“He looked quite shocked and shaken.”

In a statement, Norfolk Police said: “The female driver of the Kia suffered cuts while the female passenger sustained an arm injury, both requiring hospital treatment.”

The force added that both women have since been discharged.

Pictures from the scene show the 97-year-old’s Land Rover overturned on the side of the road – and later, the heavily damaged vehicle was seen close to a recovery truck.

Another passenger was in the vehicle at the time of the crash. While a spokeswoman would not comment on who this was, it was likely his close protection officer.

The collision happened at the junction between the B1439 and the A149 – a busy road running through the royal estate.

Both vehicles have since been recovered, and the road remained open despite the crash.

Berneen Caney, an eyewitness at the scene, told Sky News she saw six or seven people standing near the junction where the collision occurred, as well as police and paramedics.

She said: “It appeared to be quite serious, there was a lot of glass over the road as well as debris, I saw one of the cars was quite badly damaged. As for the Land Rover, its windows were smashed.”

Sky’s royal commentator, Alastair Bruce, said the duke is getting over “what must have been an incredible shock” – and described him as someone who is “very keen on remaining physically active”.

Royal author Penny Junor said she was “amazed that he got out unscathed”.

The incident is bound to raise questions about whether Prince Philip, who retired from public engagements in 2017 and had a hip replacement in May last year, is still able to drive safely.

While there is no legal limit on driving ages in the UK, motorists have to renew their licence at least 90 days before reaching the age of 70, and then every three years after that.

The duke drove former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle during their state visit in 2016.

Mr Obama said later: “I can report that it was very smooth riding.”

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(c) Sky News 2019: Prince Philip crash road under review after five deaths in six years

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