One person was seriously injured and “a number of patients” are also being treated in hospital following a motorway crash involving a school bus and a car.
It is thought the bus was en route to West Kirby all-girls grammar school and Calday Grange all-boys grammar school, also in West Kirby, Merseyside.
Both Calday Grange Grammar School and West Kirby Grammar School confirmed one of its school buses was involved.
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) later declared major incidents following the collision between the coach and a car.
In a statement, Alder Hey said: “We can confirm that we are treating a number of patients following the incident this morning.
“We will continue to support and liaise with families directly and are unable to share any further details of individual patients at this time.”
Earlier, NWAS said: “The trust despatched a large number of resources to the scene involving ambulances, advanced paramedics, our hazardous area response team and a HEMS (helicopter emergency medical service) doctor.
“So far, one female patient has been taken to the hospital, suffering major trauma-related injuries.
“There are also nearly 50 other patients being assessed at the scene. We are working closely with our incident partners to convey people away from the scene as quickly as possible.”
A spokeswoman for Merseyside Police said: “We can confirm that emergency services are on the M53 in Hooton following a collision involving a bus on the motorway.
“Just after 8am we received a report that a bus had struck a reservation on junction five of the M53.
“Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is currently ensuring the safe removal of passengers and the driver, and North West Ambulance Service are at the scene attending to anyone requiring treatment.”
In separate tweets, Calday Grange and West Kirby grammar schools posted: “We are aware of a situation involving one of our school buses on the motorway earlier today.
“We’re actively gathering details and assisting affected students and their families.”
Diversions are in place as the M53 is closed in both directions between junctions three and five.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has dashcam footage or CCTV should contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC quoting 23000944471.
Alternatively, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information-online.