Prince Philip crash: Police investigating Duke car crash which left two women hospitalised

Hannah Furness
The scene of Prince Philip's car crash. He is in the centre, wearing a green jacket, and his Land Rover is seen on its side

Police are investigating a car crash in which the Duke of Edinburgh was left bleeding and two women were hospitalised. 

The Duke's car was seen to "tumble" across a road near the Sandringham Estate following the collision, with an eyewitness reporting that he was helped from his car before immediately asking whether others were "alright".

The Duke, 97, has survived the serious car accident with no injuries, according to the palace, with a witness claiming his Land Rover turned over several times as it "careered" across a busy road near to the Sandringham Estate.

Two female passengers of the second car, a Kia, went to hospital with injuries, while a baby travelling with them was left unharmed.

Police today confirmed they would be investigating the incident. 

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has sent a private message to Prince Philip wishing him well.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: "The driver of the Kia, a 28-year-old  woman, suffered cuts to her knee while the passenger, a 45-year-old woman, sustained a broken wrist.

"Both casualties were treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn and were discharged last night.

"Police can also confirm a nine-month-old baby boy was in the Kia at the time of the incident and was uninjured.

"As is standard procedure with injury collisions, the incident will be investigated and any appropriate action taken."

The Princess Royal has today cancelled a public engagement at Parbold Equestrian Centre, citing weather conditions. 

Asked how the Duke was an an earlier event at Edgehill University, the Princess said: "I've no idea. Do you know where I am? Same place as you."

Roy Warne, a 75-year-old barrister who was first on the scene to help the Duke, today told the BBC: "I was driving home and I saw a car come out from a side road.

"It rolled and ended up on the other side of the road, and there was a huge collision with the other car.

"I went to the other car and there was a baby in the back. With another man we got the baby out, and then I went back to the other car and realised it was the Duke of Edinburgh

"I asked him to move his left leg and that freed his right leg and then I helped him get out."

Asked what the Duke, who had been trapped inside the car, had said in the aftermath, he said: "I can't remember but it was nothing rude. He was obviously shaken and then he went and asked if everyone else was alright.

"There was a little bit of blood and one of the royal entourage gave me a wipe to wipe my hands."

Royal protection officers came onto the scene shortly afterwards, he said, saying: "A lot of people arrived very quickly

"The person in the car behind me also stopped and the passenger of that car took the baby in his arms after we'd freed it from the baby harness.

"One of the women I think had a broken arm. One of them was the mother of the child and she was quite upset."

Of the Duke's car, he said: "I saw it careering, tumbling across the road and ending up on the other side.

"It would take a massive force, and it had rolled on the other side as well [right over].

"The roof was where the window should have been because it was on its side. I think I helped him out out of the sunroof or the windscreen but I'm a bit blurred about that.

"I was told he was taken to Sandringham House for assessment."

Asked by the Today programme, Mr Warne said he did not recall the Duke saying 'thank you' to him directly afterwards, adding: "He wasn't being discourteous or anything, he had other things on his mind I'm sure."

He told the Sun he had overheard the Duke telling police he had been "dazzled by the sun", according to the paper, although police would not confirm this detail Thursday night. 

In a separate television interview, he added: "People could have been killed. The impact must have been enormous

"He's a very brave man, He didn't make a big fuss about it, and went and asked everyone else if they were injured."

Norfolk Police confirmed both drivers were breathalysed and the tests proved negative.

The road near Sandringham on which the Duke of Edinburgh crashed is expected to have its speed limit decreased amid safety concerns. 

Prince Philip walked from the wreckage of his car on Thursday afternoon on the A149 after his Land Rover collided with a Kia. 

Witnesses described it as a "miracle" that His Royal Highness managed to escape uninjured.

Norfolk County Council has today approved plans for new safety measures on the section of the A149 where the accident happened.

With the authority's environment, development and transport committee giving the green light, the speed limit will be lowered from 60mph to 50mph and an average speed monitoring system will be implemented.

Committee chairman Martin Wilby read out a short statement ahead of discussions on the issue on Friday.

He said speed reduction and safety have been on the radar of the committee for some time and extended sympathy to all of those involved in the crash on Thursday and wished everyone a speedy recovery.

"But it is not our place to speculate on the cause of last night's incident. We have been looking closely into the safety of the A149 for some time," he added.

When the scheme to improve safety was initially tabled, it was on the basis of the five-year accident record up to January 2015 during which there were 46 accidents resulting in injury. 

Two of these were fatal and 13 classed as "serious", and while the accident rate on the road was lower than the national average,  the proportion of those killed and seriously injured in crashes was higher. 

Since then, the accident rate has decreased with no recorded incidents between December 2016 and March 2018, but with the proportion accidents resulting in deaths remaining at 13% - double the national average - councillors are being urged to pass the motion. 

According to the AA, being dazzled by bright light is frequently cited as the cause of road accidents.

Figures released in 2014 showed the glare of a low-lying sun was contributing to an average of 28 road deaths a year.

Around 3,900 road users a year were injured during to incidents where the driver had been dazzled by the sun.

Road where Prince Philip crashed expected to have speed limit reduced amid safety concerns Credit: Sam Russell/PA

The crash happened at the Babingley crossroads on a stretch of the A149 which runs between the town of King's Lynn and the north Norfolk coast.

It is single carriageway and has a 60mph speed limit.

A turning off the A149 to the east leads to the village of West Newton, and a private estate road to the west leads past St Felix Chapel, a British Orthodox church.

A wing mirror surrounded by shattered glass and broken plastic was left at the side of the Hunstanton-bound carriageway after the two vehicles were recovered, with tyre tracks across the verge.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman confirmed the Duke was driving when the accident happened.

She added: "He saw a doctor as a precaution and the doctor confirmed he was not injured."

The Duke and the Queen, who was informed about the accident, are staying at Sandringham, their residence during their traditional winter break.

Prince Philip, who retired from public duties in the summer of 2017 and last April had a hip replacement operation, is known to remain active.

He was photographed in the summer driving a horse-drawn carriage, although he has given up competing.

But with the Queen's consort in his 98th year there may be calls from some for him to give up motoring.

In 2014, the Prince of Wales was heard to tell a D–Day veteran of his concerns about his father's insistence on driving a car as he approached his 93rd birthday, admitting: "I'm always worried."

AA president Edmund King said: "Young, predominantly male, drivers are much more likely to crash within six months of passing their test than older drivers within six months of hanging up their keys.

"Older drivers often self-restrict their driving by not driving at night and only driving on familiar roads.

"The decision to hang up your keys is a tough one but should be based on personal advice from your GP and family, rather than being based on some arbitrary age."