A MAN has died after an accident involving a car and a bus travelling in opposite directions on a North Dorset road.

The collision, between a Ford Fiesta and a single decker bus operated by Damory Coaches, took place on a 60mph stretch of the A357 at Shillingstone, between Blandford and Sturminster Newton, at about 3.20pm yesterday.

The driver of the car, a local man, was pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics with the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance airlifted the bus driver to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester. She was treated for minor injuries and discharged.

Fire crews from Blandford and Sturminster Newton attended the scene, on a section of the road known locally as Gain’s Cross.

Eight passengers were on board the bus when the collision took place. Five were injured but were said by a police spokesman to be “walking wounded”.

The bus was on a scheduled service heading towards Blandford when the accident took place. The road remained closed for several hours while police traffic officers examined the scene. Highway teams set up diversions, including one at Sturminster Bridge, directing traffic onto the A30.

Company director John Palmer, who lives in the nearest home to the accident, said: “I didn’t see anything, I just heard a loud bang. I’ve heard so many there I didn’t even go outside at first. There was a dust cloud and a haze. Within minutes there were police sirens coming from miles around.”