Rescue officials informed that many of the pupils were left covered in blood and screaming after the two school buses collided, leaving more than 20 people needing hospital treatment.
It was gathered that among those injured in the accident was a 12-year-old boy, who was airlifted to hospital with severe facial injuries.
it was also reported that a 54-year-old bus driver, who became trapped, also suffered serious injuries and was flown by air ambulance alongside the boy to Newcastle’s RVI hospital.
Seven youngsters with minor injuries were said to be taken by ambulance to either the RVI, the Queen Elizabeth in Gateshead or the University Hospital of North Durham, and a further 12 pupils were taken to hospital by other means.
Some victims with minor injuries were treated for shock at the scene.
The second bus driver – a 27-year-old from Newton Aycliffe – it was gathered suffered minor injuries and was also taken to hospital.
The crash appeared to have been a head-on collision between a yellow double- decker and a white single-decker at around 8.20am on the A693, at the junction with Shield Row Lane close to the Oxhill Youth Centre in Stanley.
An eyewitness, Maureen Davison, who runs a burger van near the crash site, said she heard a “huge bang” and looked up.
She described seeing injured people lying on the grass waiting to be treated.
The pupils were from St Bede’s at Lanchester and Tanfield School Comprehensive and are aged between 11 and 18.
Some of them were said to be taken to the nearby Oxhill public house where they were met by teachers from their respective schools and parents.
Superintendent Colin Williamson confirmed that all drivers and passengers of both buses were safely removed from the vehicles and taken to hospital.