THE drivers of a milk tanker and a coach were said to be lucky to be alive after crashing into an abandoned stolen camper van at an accident black spot.

The National Express coach heading for Whitby on the A171, near Scaling Dam, hit the VW Transporter camper van, which had been taken from the Cleveland area, as it was on the side of the unlit road in a hidden dip.

Shortly after the initial crash at 5.50am yesterday (Wednesday, January 2), a milk tanker which was heading towards Guisborough, ploughed into the coach and van.

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Firefighters rescued the trapped driver of the coach, which was not carrying passengers, by smashing his windscreen.

The coach driver was uninjured, but the milk tanker driver was treated at the scene for facial cuts by paramedics after his head hit the windscreen in the crash.

The road remained closed for five hours after the crash as investigators examined the scene.

It is believed the camper van may have run out of fuel after being stolen on New Year’s Day from Duncan Place, Loftus.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: ““It was fortunate there were no fatalities. This could have been very serious.

“This was a senseless and irresponsible place to abandon the camper van and officers are very keen to speak to anyone who saw it in the area prior to the acccident.”

Last September, a vehicle carrying a family of six from Stockton overturned at the same spot after swerving to avoid another vehicle which had allegedly been travelling on the wrong side of the road.

A motorcyclist was killed at the blackspot, which has signs warning of a hidden dip, five years ago, following a multi-vehicle pile-up.

Anyone with information about the camper van theft should call Cleveland Police on 101.