A man and a woman have been killed in a high-speed police chase in west London which started after officers responded to an aggravated burglary.
Three suspects were involved in the crash as their car sped down the wrong side of the busy A40 in Acton at around 9pm on Sunday and smashed into an oncoming coach.
Police trailed the car for several miles towards central London after the three suspects fled the scene of an alleged aggravated burglary at an address in Harrow.
The shattered wreckage of a Renault Megane people carrier was pictured in the middle of the A40 after the high-speed crash on Sunday night
A police helicopter was called in to assist officers following the suspects, and reports on social media suggested as many as 10 police cars were involved in the chase.
According to police, a male and female occupant were pronounced dead on the scene of the horror accident – with a third being rushed to hospital for treatment.
The condition of the surviving occupant has not yet been revealed.
There were no reports of any other serious injuries and details of the number of people on the coach have not been released.
Dramatic pictures captured in the wake of the accident showed the twisted wreckage of a Renault Megane people carrier with its airbags deployed after the high speed smash.
A coach was also pictured with a large chunk missing from its front bumper following the crash
Another photo showed a stationary coach with a large portion of its front bumper missing and a police screen covering a dead body lying in the middle of the road.
Witnesses who saw the horror collision between the car and the coach said there were ‘instant flames’ as the two vehicles came together at high speed.
One Twitter user, Hina L, claimed: ‘I was driving westbound and had to swerve out of the way when the car came speeding towards me.
While another, Li, said: ‘The coach they crashed into was right behind me. So shaken, all I saw was instant flames!’
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: ‘At approximately 21:00hrs the vehicle being pursued moved onto the wrong side of the carriageway on the A40. The police vehicles did not follow.
‘The vehicle was then in collision with a coach near the junction with Kingsdown Avenue, W3. There were three occupants in the vehicle.
Police were forced to screen the remains of one of the victims from public view after the deadly collision
‘Two people – one male and one female – were pronounced dead at the scene; a second male has been taken to hospital for treatment – condition awaits.
‘No reports of any other serious injuries. Road closures remain in place.’
Last month, the IOPC said fatalities and serious injuries following pursuits were ‘thankfully rare’ as it investigated four separate fatal incidents involving patrol cars across the country over the course of a week.
PCSO Holly Burke was fatally injured by an alleged hit-and-run driver who struck her car while being chased by police in the West Midlands on January 22, while a 26-year-old refugee from Eritrea died after being hit by a police car responding to a 999 call in east London on the same day.
Jessie Whitehead, 74, was riding a mobility scooter when she was hit by a marked squad car as it responded to an emergency in Bedworth, Warwickshire, and Paul Radcliffe, 18, was killed by a car which had failed to stop for police in Oadby, Leicestershire, on January 19.