A truck driver has been charged over a horror bus crash that left several children severely injured with some requiring amputations.
Ten children aged five to 11 suffered traumatic or serious injuries when the school bus carrying 45 kids collided with a truck and rolled on its side at Eynesbury, in Melbourne’s west, at about 3.40pm on Tuesday.
The male truck driver, a 49-year-old from Balliang near Geelong, sustained minor injuries and assisted police with their inquiries overnight.
He was charged with four counts of dangerous driving cause serious injury and will front Melbourne Magistrates Court via video link on Wednesday.
Victoria Police Superintendent Michael Cruse said he expected the truck driver to be handed additional charges, but didn’t
He said many of the people who responded to the incident were teachers who would have known the students involved in the crash.
A truck driver has been charged after a bus crash that left several children severely injured and awaiting amputations
Children were trapped inside the bus before witnesses and emergency workers pulled them from the wreckage and took them to hospital
Major Collision Investigation Unit Senior Sergeant Paul Lineham claimed the bus had been trying to turn right onto another road when it was hit from behind by the truck.
‘That may have lessened the actual impact of the truck itself,’ Lineham told 3AW.
‘We don’t use the term ‘lucky’ because obviously, there’s an incredibly unfortunate set of circumstances, but this had the potential to have multiple fatalities.’
A Code Brown, an emergency response for hospitals anticipating mass causalities, was declared after the accident.
Specialist doctors were called in to perform emergency surgeries at the Royal Children’s Hospital after seven children were admitted and two discharged.
Students from Exford Primary School were going home when a truck hit the school bus from behind.
Children were trapped inside the bus before witnesses and emergency workers pulled them from the wreckage and took them to hospital.
Parents faced an anxious wait overnight before finally being reunited with their children early Wednesday morning.
The seven children are still in a serious condition, with four undergoing surgery overnight, one in intensive care and another two going into theatre on Wednesday.
Bernadette McDonald, chief executive at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, said so far one child has had a complete limb amputation due to their injuries.
Students from Exford Primary School were going home when a truck hit the school bus from behind at Eynesbury, 44km west of the Melbourne CBD
The truck and school bus collided on the corner of Exford and Murphys Road at Eynesbury, about 44km west of Melbourne’s CBD
‘The children have suffered multiple and traumatic injuries including partial and complete amputations of arms, multiple crushed limb injuries, severe lacerations to head and body, head injuries and glass shard injuries,’ Ms McDonald told reporters.
‘Three patients are currently receiving spinal support and being monitored, carefully, in terms of spinal injuries.’
Multiple surgeons are in attendance including the hospital’s own doctors and vascular and specialist microplastic surgeons from Royal Melbourne Hospital.
‘You would understand with these sorts of injuries very small vessels need to be repaired and reattached,’ Ms McDonald said.
Many of the children will need to undergo multiple surgeries in the coming days and weeks and long-term rehabilitation therapy is likely.
Ms McDonald said the situation was very traumatic.
‘We have some very traumatised families and children in our hospital at the moment. We’re working extremely hard to provide that trauma support and care that they will need not just now but in the coming weeks and months,’ she said.
A Department of Education spokesman said a range of support measures were available for affected students, including counsellors (pictured is the crash site)
Counsellors are going to Exford Primary School to help students process the tragedy. Premier Daniel Andrews said he had been in contact with the school’s principal Lisa Campo.
‘The reason I called Lisa last night and again this morning was just to make sure that she knew and understood that ‘whatever you ask for… the answer will be yes. We’re there for you’,’ he told reporters.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese said the crash was horrific.
‘My heart goes out to them and to their families at what must be an extraordinarily difficult time,’ he told reporters.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)