SIX people have been taken to hospital after a mini-bus crashed into a tree in Grove Park this morning.

The incident, in Baring Road, happened at around 10am, and left three people trapped and one seriously injured. 

Firefighters had to use specialist cutting equipment to rescue those unable to get free. The driver was said to be unable to open the door, while two passengers were trapped by the crumpled vehicle. 

One woman, believed to be in her 40s, is in a serious condition and five others have been taken to hospital with minor injuries. Two others were walking wounded. 

A spokeswoman for the London Ambulance Service said: "We got the call just before 10am to reports of a road traffic collision involving a mini-bus.

"We sent a single responder in a car, three ambulance crews, London's air ambulance, our hazardous area response team and a duty officer to the scene.

"Staff treated six patients. A woman was treated for leg injuries and taken in a serious condition to King's College Hospital.

"Five other patients, two women and three men, were treated for minor injuries and taken to Lewisham Hospital."

Watch manager Gary Brooks, of Lee Green Fire Station, was the first on the scene. 

He said: "We had eight people injured. Three were trapped in the vehicle - five managed to get out of the back of the bus.

"The driver was in shock. A female passenger had her legs stuck under the dashboard and another passenger was trapped by the yellow bars of the sliding door."

Retired Peter Taylor, 73, who lives opposite the crash site, said he was making a cup of tea when he heard "an enormous bang".

"I heard it - my kitchen is right opposite where it happened. I looked up and saw a minibus had gone into a tree. 

"It was loaded with people in the back. Lots of cars stopped and people got out to help. There were people trying to open the back door to get the passengers out."

Sergeant Rodney Kenny, from Catford Police Traffic Unit, said today the cause of the collision was unknown and is appealing for witnesses. 

"We dont know quite why it's crashed. If anyone saw it please ring the 101 number."

The road is expected to remain closed for a few hours.

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