Some of the most seriously injured school-age children suffered head injuries, amputated arms, and suspected spinal injuries.
Seven children remain hospitalized after suffering serious injuries, some described as life-changing, when a truck crashed into a school bus carrying around 45 pupils on the outskirts of the Australian city of Melbourne.
Hospital staff said some children suffered head injuries, amputated arms and suspected spinal injuries from the impact of the dump truck, which rear-ended the school bus, causing it to overturn Tuesday afternoon in a semi-rural community west of Melbourne.
Six children were reportedly initially trapped in the wrecked bus, the country’s Fire Authority said, with emergency crews having to enter the wrecked vehicle through a skylight in the roof, with the shattered windscreen later being used as the main emergency exit.
Initially, a total of 21 children were taken by ambulance from the accident site for medical care and seven remain in hospital.
The 49-year-old trucker, identified by local media as Jamie Gleeson, was released on bail on Wednesday afternoon after appearing in court to face four counts of dangerous driving causing serious injury, Australia’s 9News reported.
“Speed will be considered as part of the investigation,” Police Superintendent Michael Cruse said Tuesday.
Several children have suffered life-changing injuries after a truck crashed into their school bus in Eynesbury, Melbourne’s west. https://t.co/4CMSf8OEUT @SaraJones_7 #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/mN5uPQn5yo
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) May 17, 2023
At the time of the accident, the children were returning to school after competing in a track event.
Cruse paid tribute to bystanders and to the injured school bus driver who helped the children out of the vehicle.
One of the children is in intensive care, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne chief executive Bernadette McDonald said, noting they are between five and 11 years old.
“The children sustained multiple and traumatic injuries, including partial and complete arm amputations, multiple crush injuries, severe head and body lacerations, head injuries, glass shard injuries, and three patients are … being carefully monitored. in terms of spinal injuries.” McDonald’s told reporters.
He also said the hospital was helping some extremely traumatized families, adding: “We are working very hard to provide the support and trauma care they will need, not only now but also in the weeks and months ahead.”
McDonald said one child lost an entire arm, but did not elaborate on how many of the injured had partial amputations.
Police detective Sergeant Major Paul Lineham of the Major Collision Investigation Unit said the bus was fitted with seat belts.
“We don’t know how many of the children were wearing seat belts at the time of the collision,” Lineham told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“The scene was pretty horrifying.”