Australia

Bus driver involved in Bacchus Marsh crash praised for heroic actions after dozens of schoolgirls were left seriously injured English Headline


The driver of a bus involved in a horror crash north-west of Melbourne has been praised for his heroic actions in the wake of the collision. 

The bus carrying 27 students and four staff from Loreto College Ballarat crashed down an embankment after colliding with a truck in the Victorian town of Bacchus Marsh at about 3.20 am on Wednesday. 

The students from Year 9 to 12 had been heading to Melbourne Airport for their long-awaited trip to the United States for a NASA space camp.

Tow truck business owner Trevor Oliver had been in the area clearing debris from an earlier accident when he came across the crash scene.

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He rendered assistance alongside the driver, who he said did a “magnificent job” despite being seriously injured himself.

“He refused to go to hospital until every girl had left that accident scene,” Mr Oliver told the ABC.

“It was like the captain of the ship going down.”

At least 12 passengers remain in hospital in a stable condition, with patients being treated for varying upper and lower body injuries. 

All are lucky to be alive after aerial footage of the crash site showed the bus severely damaged with windows blown out and suitcases scattered across the terrain.

The cabin of the truck was also a crumbled mess parked just off the highway.

Loreto College Ballarat will remain open on Thursday, despite the National Day of Mourning public holiday, to provide counselling to students affected by the incident. 

Principal Michelle Brodrick thanked the public for their support and well-wishes. 

“I cannot thank Ballarat and the community enough. There has been a strong outpouring of help and text messages, flowers, lots of people reaching out to offer all the support they can,” Ms Brodrick said.

“When students are involved it does touch so many people. We know they are in everyone’s thoughts.”

Police are currently investigating the circumstance surrounding the crash.

Detective Inspector Roger Schranz from the Road Crime Investigation Unit believed an earlier accident further up the highway contributed to the horror accident.

“The speed reduction signs were out. The bus has slowed down indicating to reduce speed,” he told reporters on Wednesday morning.

“Then the truck has come around the corner and headed down towards the hill and it’s seen the speed reduction and the banked up traffic and collided with the bus, forcing the bus off the left-hand side of the freeway down the cliff.”

The speed zone of Western Freeway is normally 110km/h, with the detective revealing the limit had dropped down to 80km/h and then 40km/h closer to the first crash.

Witnesses or drivers with dash cam footage are urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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