Tributes have been paid to a Hebburn man killed when a coach carrying 34 school children from Essex crashed in Belgium.
James ‘Geordie’ Chance, 57, was the only fatality of the crash in Middelkerke in West Flanders although a 13-year-old boy from the school suffered a fractured skull.
The grandfather of five, who lived in Lisburn in County Antrim, left South Tyneside 40 years ago.
He was believed to have been sitting next to the coach’s driver when it crashed into a motorway bridge.
Mr Chance’s leaves behind widow Lyn. It is beleived that two of his sons have gone to Belgium to bring his body home.
The coach involved in the crash is owned by Richmond Coaches, based in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.
Richmond Coaches were devastated to hear of the death of their second driver, Mr Chance who was sitting in the courier seat at the time of the crashStatement
In a statement, the firm said: “The two drivers in their mid-fifties were James Chance and Stephen Cardwell. Mr Cardwell remains in hospital with his condition described as stable.
“Richmond Coaches were devastated to hear of the death of their second driver, Mr Chance who was sitting in the courier seat at the time of the crash. Mr Chance’s family have been informed of his death.
“Richmond Coaches would like to reassure all families of the children and teachers that none of the passengers have sustained life threatening injuries.”
The company’s director Brendan McKenna added that his “thoughts and prayers” were with all the families affected.
Brentwood School said the coach was carrying children aged between 11 and 13, and that one child was in intensive care.