ONE man has died and three people have been seriously injured in a crash involving a bus and a car.

The Stagecoach bus and a Mercedes collided on the A78, near Hunterston roundabout at Fairlie, North Ayrshire, at around 10.10am.

Police Scotland later confirmed that the 53-year-old man driving the Mercedes died at the scene. He was the only person in the car.

The 60-year-old male bus driver and a female passenger, aged 69, were airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, where they are both are being treated for serious head injuries.

A further eight bus passengers - six women and two men - are being treated for their injuries at Inverclyde Royal Hospital and Crosshouse Hospital for treatment.

Seven of the passengers have now been released from hospital.

One passenger, a 57-year-old man, remains in Crosshouse Hospital. Staff have described his condition as serious but stable. 

The bus was travelling south, while the silver car was heading in the opposite direction when the crash happened.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: "We received an emergency call shortly after 10am for a road traffic accident involving a bus.

"We responded with multiple vehicles, including six ambulances, one paramedic response unit, a full special operations response team, area services managers, the EMRS (Emergency Medical Retrieval Service) and two helicopters.

"This was a serious road traffic accident. We worked with our colleagues from Police Scotland and the fire service."

The A78 was closed between the Hunterston roundabout and Clydeport roundabout to allow police to carry out investigations at the scene. Local diversions were in place.

A spokesman for Stagecoach West Scotland said: ''We can confirm that a car was in collision with one of our vehicles operating the 585 service near Largs.

''Our first thoughts are with the people who have been involved in the incident.

''The safety of our passengers and staff is our highest priority and we are assisting the police fully with their investigation into the circumstances.''

Police Scotland said a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.

A spokeswoman said: "Inquiries into the crash are continuing.

"Anyone who witnessed it or has any information that will assist police with their inquiries is asked to contact the road policing department at Irvine police office via 101."

It comes less than a month after another serious crash for the Perth-based bus giant.

An eight-year-old boy and a woman in her 70s died after the 77-year-old driver of a Stagecoach double-decker lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a supermarket in Coventry city centre on October 4.