POLICE yesterday began questioning the driver and passengers on a coach which overturned on a steep mountain road, injuring 15 people.

The Drive For Freedom Travel coach had been travelling from Stakeford, near Ashington, Northumberland, to Ambleside, in the Lake District, for a day trip on Saturday when it careered into a wall.

Cumbrian Police said they do not know what caused the collision but described conditions as wet and slippery.

The vehicle was carrying 43 passengers - members of a Women's Institute plus two men - and two crew as it travelled down the narrow road, known by locals as The Struggle.

As the vehicle plummeted 20ft into the garden of Nancy and Michael Horrax, several passengers and the driver, 53-year-old Fred Messenger, were thrown clear.

It came to rest on its side against the couple's back porch, a few feet away from a greenhouse. One passenger was airlifted and 38 were taken by ambulance to hospitals in the area. Of the 15 people admitted, 13 remained in hospital last night.

The condition of one woman was described as serious after having surgery on a broken hip, and another woman was decribed as "poorly" at the Royal Lancaster Hospital.

Ian Cummings, chief executive of Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "She is probably the worst case and is suffering a lot of discomfort from metal work around her broken bones."

No one from the coach company was available for comment.