VIDEO: Schoolchildren in ‘miracle’ escape after bus overturns

Photo: Dan Linehan

A number of investigations are under way after 50 secondary school pupils had a “miracle” escape when their bus overturned in Co Cork yesterday morning.

The school bus, containing pupils from three secondary schools in Fermoy, was travelling along a rural road from Ballyhooly towards Fermoy when it took a sharp bend and overturned into a field at around 8.20am yesterday morning.

Emergency services attended the scene and removed the children to the PE Hall of Coláiste an Chraoibhín in Fermoy where an emergency response centre was established.

Four children were brought to Cork University Hospital with minor injuries, the others on board were brought home by their parents from the response centre.

Staff and Principals from St Colman’s College and Loreto Secondary School also attended the response centre, and the National Educational Psychological Service offered its services to the students.

Ciaran McCann was driving towards Ballyhooly when he came upon the scene moments after the bus had left the road.

He joined three men who were already in the field and began assisting pupils off the bus, which was on its side.

“They wouldn’t have been able to open the emergency door at the back, so the only way out was directly through the windscreen. Whether that broke on impact or the driver had kicked it out, I’m not too sure, but that was the only route directly out of the bus,” Mr McCann said.

VIDEO: Schoolchildren in ‘miracle’ escape after bus overturns

“The striking thing about it was how calm the children were, they all got out quite calmly and there was no panic or screaming or anything like that.

“They must have gotten an unbelievable shock, but they were very calm.

“There were a couple of them that had bumps and bruises around their faces and they were visibly very shocked,” he said.

Mr McCann said that three pupils on board were initially stuck in the bus.

“I think the bus driver was inside with another gentleman in the bus breaking branches from a tree that went through the window. The lads were breaking the branches to see if they could get back to them,” Mr McCann said.

Eileen Gowen the mother of Coláiste and Chraoibhin students Jeff and Caoimhetells how she heard about the school bus accident.

Eileen Gowan’s daughter Caoimhe, 14, and son Jeff, 13, were on the bus.

Speaking outside Coláiste an Chraoibhín, she described the accident as “horrific”.

“My second child has gone into CUH, she has bruising to her lip and her neck and I am just taking my other little boy home now,” she said.

“He’s ok, he’s shook,” she said of her son.

“It’s a miracle but no serious injuries after this morning’s bus crash,” Coláiste an Chraoibhín posted on Twitter.

Yesterday its principal Christy Healy paid tribute to the emergency services’ response to the accident.

“On behalf of the three schools I would like to thank the rapid response of An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and Fire Brigade, who were all at the scene within minutes,” he said.

“An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority have both launched separate investigations into the crash, and we await the outcome of both investigations.”

Mr Healy’s thanks were echoed by Loreto Secondary School which praised the emergency services in a statement.

“We are greatly relieved that no one was seriously injured in this accident. This incident has naturally been a huge shock for the students involved, their families and all members of our school community,” it read.

Bus Éireann yesterday said that the 53-seater 1999 bus is sub-contracted for its school transport services and is operated by Glenferry Coaches.

“The cause of the accident has not yet been established, but is currently under investigation by Bus Éireann and the relevant authorities,” a statement from the company read.


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