Bus crashes into school
Saturday, 17th May, 2008
A traffic accident almost ended in tragedy yesterday when a bus crashed into the grounds of the Willyama High School during recess.
The incident occurred at about 10.50am when the driver of a Home Care Services bus suffered a suspected heart attack and lost control of the vehicle. The bus sideswiped a parked car in Fisher Street before crashing through the fence near Willyama's Murton Street entrance. It then careered into the school's crowded oval but missed students. A passenger is believed to have helped the driver to steer the bus to safety.
The vehicle eventually came to rest near the school's bus zone at the east of its grounds, where the driver and passengers were assisted by students and teachers. Ambulance, fire brigade, police, SES and mental health crews were quickly on the scene. Willyama Principal Tony Hicks commended the actions of everyone who helped at the scene of the crash. "There were no students injured at all. The lady on the bus who steered after the driver collapsed saved a few of our kids lives," he said. "We actually had two students - one from our school and one from Broken Hill High - and one of our teachers perform CPR on the driver until the ambulance arrived.
"There was also an off duty nurse who jumped the fence and helped as well, and we had some teachers and senior students help the older people off the bus. "They all did a terriffic job, and the way all the students handled the situation was great. "It's not something you see every day and they would have wanted to have a look at what was happening, but they all kept out of the way. "I'm very proud of this school, the kids the staff and our neighbours... and every emergency service was terriffic." Some students were left shaken by the crash however, and Mr Hicks said counselling would be available at the school next week.
"A few of the students were a bit upset. I think it's just the shock of a bus coming into the school like that," he said. The 67-year-old driver is reportedly in a serious but stable condition, and was due to be flown to Adelaide by the Royal Flying Doctor Service yesterday afternoon. Two of the 14 passengers were also hospitalised as a result of the accident, with a 77-year-old man in a satisfactory condition and an 88-year-old woman discharged yesterday afternoon.