Fatal Taplow railway bridge crash the 'most horrendous impact', inquest hears

Shay Bottomley

Fatal Taplow railway bridge crash the 'most horrendous impact', inquest hears

Flowers laid at scene of a road traffic collision in August 2021

An inquest into how three students from Reading died in the ‘most horrendous impact’ at Taplow railway bridge found the speed of the vehicle was ‘the root cause’ of the collision.

Amza Hussain, Faaiz Rahman Choudhury and Rajvir Singh Dosanjh, all 20, died shortly after the crash at around 10pm on August 17, 2021.

An inquest into their deaths was held at Beaconsfield Coroners Court on Thursday, ten months after the crash in Taplow, with family members of the men in attendance.

The inquest heard how the collision was ‘serious and sufficient’ enough to cause fatal injuries.

The subsequent fire immediately after the red BMW 1 Series struck the bridge was thought not to have played a role in their deaths.

Coroner Crispin Butler read an eyewitness statement from a retired lady who was driving in the opposite direction (towards Slough) at the time.

She described the crash as the ‘most horrendous impact’, adding that there was ‘a very loud noise’ in the incident which happened ‘very quickly’.

Debris was strewn across the road whilst the car was now facing in the opposite direction, before the witness noticed flames from beneath the bonnet when the car ‘suddenly exploded in a large fireball’.

The damage to the car was so extensive that it was ‘virtually impossible’ to confirm whether there had been any pre-existing issues with the vehicle prior to the crash.

Following a short adjournment, the inquest heard from Collision Investigation Officer Luke Webb.

Mr Webb said it is unlikely the road itself – a right hand bend with a 40mph speed limit – was the main cause of the crash.

He told the inquest that nearby CCTV from Thames Valley Adventure Playground captured the approach of the red BMW towards the bridge.

In his analysis, he had been unable to determine the exact speed of the vehicle before it collided with the bridge.

However, by using the number of frames it took for each vehicle to pass through the view of the camera, Mr Webb had been able to compare the speed of the BMW with 15 previous vehicles which passed before the crash.

The average number of frames it took for a vehicle to pass through the view of the camera was 19.6; the red BMW, on the other hand, was only in shot for seven frames.

Mr Webb described this as an ‘unusually low amount of frames’ and added that the closest previous vehicle to this amount of time was in shot for 16 frames.

The CCTV footage also showed that the deviation of the right bend was sharper than the deviation of the vehicle’s trajectory, whilst marks on the embankment indicated that the passenger side of the vehicle had left the road moments before the collision.

Concluding, Mr Webb said it was likely that ‘speed was the root cause of this collision’.

“Had the BMW been travelling at the speed limit, the corner would have been negotiable,” he added.

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