HomeAustraliaTruck driver charged in 'absolutely horrible' school bus crash that injured 10...

Truck driver charged in ‘absolutely horrible’ school bus crash that injured 10 children

Ferguson, who stayed on the line with emergency services operators until ambulances arrived, said more than a dozen people, mostly workers, began pulling children off the bus through a hatch in ceiling.

“No one knew if the bus was going to catch fire or something,” he said.

People leave the scene of the accident Tuesday night.Credit: wayne taylor

“The traditions that were there were incredible. They all took off their sweaters and gave them to the kids because it was getting cold, and they were all shivering and stuff.”

Ferguson said it took about 15 minutes for emergency services to reach the scene and start freeing the remaining children trapped in the rubble.

He said teachers and parents rushed to the crash site from school to comfort the children, who were crying and screaming on the side of the road.

The overturned bus was righted by a crane around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday. School bags, drink bottles and children’s sweaters fell from the vehicle’s storage as it was put back on its wheels.

Windows on the side where the bus overturned were smashed in the crash, while half of the front windshield was smashed and partly removed to help students get out.

The metal at the rear of the bus was significantly warped, while the front of the truck was dented and the left front headlight dangled only by wires.

Investigators could be seen checking and photographing the seat belts on the bus after it righted itself.

Age reached out to Bacchus Marsh Coaches on Wednesday morning, but the company declined to comment.

Royal Children’s Hospital chief executive Bernadette McDonald said seven children between the ages of five and 11 remain at the hospital, including one child in intensive care and six others in serious condition.

The boy in the ICU is expected to leave that unit sometime on Wednesday, he said.


Speaking from outside the hospital Wednesday morning, McDonald said the young patients suffered a variety of injuries in the crash, including amputations, head injuries, spinal cord injuries and lacerations from glass shards.

One patient’s arm was completely amputated, while other children suffered partial amputations.

“We still have two patients to go into the operating room today, and the operating room teams operated until the early hours of the morning,” he said.

“Some of these patients will require returns to the operating room and multiple surgeries in the coming days and weeks.

“This is traumatic for every single person involved. We have some very traumatized families and children in our hospital right now. We are working very hard to provide that support and trauma care that they will need not only now, but in the weeks to come.”

The bus driver was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

The accident occurred less than a kilometer from the primary school on the suburban border between Exford and Eynesbury, some 40 kilometers west of Melbourne’s CBD. Members of the school community arrived at the school with large bouquets of flowers and balloons on Wednesday morning.

McDonald said a code brown was called at the Royal Children’s Hospital, deferring less urgent care. Specialist plastic and vascular surgeons from the Royal Melbourne Hospital were brought in to help with the surgeries overnight.

“Our emergency department, our operating room teams, and our trauma team did very well, as did all of the hospital staff,” he said.

“I couldn’t get people to go home last night, everyone wanted to stay and help in any way they could.”

Police mark evidence at the scene of the accident Wednesday morning.

Police mark evidence at the scene of the accident Wednesday morning.Credit: jason south

Sergeant Major Lineham, who arrived at the intersection as the children were being freed from the rubble, described the scene as “absolutely horrific”.

“As a parent of an elementary school-age child, I can only imagine the absolutely paralyzing feeling those parents had when I first reported this bus overturned,” he said.

Lineham said several students were brought to the school to meet their parents, but some families were unable to see their children before they were rushed to hospital.

“This is a type of incident that resonates with the community,” he said. “If this isn’t the time for some people in the community to say, ‘we need to slow down on our roads to reduce the toll,’ I don’t think the message will ever get through. to the other side,” she said.

Nicole Kirk, speaking with nine news at the scene, he said his 11-year-old daughter was on the bus but was unharmed.

“We ran here, there were tears and emotion, (my daughter) was scared, she had scratches, blood on her hands,” Kirk said. “We are one of the lucky ones.”

Education Minister Natalie Hutchins said the government and education department stood ready to support Exford Primary School in any way the community needed, including offering counseling services.

“Our thoughts are absolutely with the families,” Hutchins said Wednesday. “It is a parent’s worst nightmare to receive a call or read on social media that there has been an accident like this. Certainly we will include all the services that we can in the school, and today I am speaking with the Department of Education at the school site. We will see what psychological support includes the school community in general, as well as the people who were affected by this”.

The overturned truck remained on the scene Wednesday morning, before it righted itself shortly before lunchtime.

The overturned truck remained on the scene Wednesday morning, before it righted itself shortly before lunchtime.Credit: jason south

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also sent his support to the families involved in the accident.

“Any accident is horrible of this nature. The fact that it involves students from the school breaks your heart,” she said. “My heart goes out to them and their families.”

Exford Road remains closed in both directions and police are continuing their investigations at the scene of the accident.

Anyone who witnessed the crash, with dash cam footage or information, is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

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