Three spectators killed in rally car crash horror ‘hit like skittles’

The scene at Little Swinton, near Coldstream, where three people were killed after a car lost control at the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders

The scene at Little Swinton, near Coldstream, where three people were killed after a car lost control at the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders

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An eyewitness to a rally car crash that killed three spectators said the vehicle ploughed into the crowd like a “bowling ball hitting skittles’’.

The two men and one woman were killed in what was the second of two crashes during the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders on Saturday afternoon.

They were identified by Police Scotland as Iain Provan, 64, and Elizabeth Allan, 63, from Barrhead, near Glasgow, and 71-year-old John Stern, from Bearsden, also near Glasgow.

Two other injured men, both 61, remained in hospital – one in a stable condition and one in a critical but stable condition in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The fatal accident took place at about 4pm at Little Swinton, near Coldstream.

Teacher Colin Gracey, 46, who was watching the rally with his family, including three children, described the incident as “traumatic”.

“I think it was the seventh car coming through and it just veered very sharply after taking the bridge and it went right into the field hitting the people who were stood there. It was shocking.

“It was like a bowling ball hitting skittles. It was awful, absolutely awful.”

Officers from Police Scotland worked through the day at the site yesterday. Tents were erected and forensic specialists were seen filming the area.

A cordon was in place and flowers were left beside a tree in tribute to those who died.

Mr Gracey said a safety car passed through the area before the rally to tell people to stand at a safe distance. “A marshal car came through before the stage started and told people to move away from the area. I think people moved but came back.

“There were at least a dozen people standing there and when it happened I thought ‘my god’.

The three-day rally, which was due to finish yesterday, was immediately abandoned after the fatal crash.

Two hours before the accident another car in the rally left the road and hit five people, one woman and four men, near Crosshall Farm on the Eccles stage of the competition.

Three of the men were taken to Borders General Hospital but one was then moved to an intensive care unit in Edinburgh. The remaining two spectators were treated for minor injuries.

In a statement, the rally organisers offered their “heartfelt condolences and sympathy” to all those affected by the “tragic events’’.

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