‘Chaotic scene’: 13 children in hospital after truck hits school bus in Melbourne’s west

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Thirteen children have been taken to hospital, including 10 with serious injuries, after a truck collided with a school bus carrying 45 primary school students on Melbourne’s western fringe.

Victoria Police Superintendent Michael Cruse said the bus left nearby Exford Primary School – just south of Melton – about 3.30pm and was attempting to turn right onto Murphys Road when a truck crashed into the back of it, rolling the vehicle on its side.

Ambulance Victoria said 14 people involved in the crash were taken to hospital, including 10 with serious injuries.

Ambulances also took the adult bus driver and three other children to hospital in a stable condition.

Cruse said it was “very lucky” no one died in the accident.

The crash occurred less than a kilometre from the primary school on the suburban border between Exford and Eynesbury, about 40 kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD.

Cruse said students were heading home at the end of the school day when the crash happened.

“The bus has suffered significant damage, it’s also overturned,” he said. “So it’s very fortunate that the injuries aren’t more serious, but I must stress it is still a very serious incident.”

Emergency services had to free at least six children who were trapped inside, with many exiting through the roof and windows. Cruse said passers-by also stopped and helped children from the bus.

He added emergency service personnel dealt with a “very chaotic scene” as concerned parents arrived on the scene and attempted to locate their children.

Dozens of students were treated at a makeshift triage on the side of Exford Road. Emotional families were soon reunited after CFA, SES and Fire Rescue Victoria crews freed the few who remained trapped in the overturned bus.

Nicole Kirk, speaking to Nine News at the scene, said her daughter, 11, was on the bus.

“We raced down here, there was tears and emotion, [my daughter] was frightened, she has scratches, blood on her hands,” Kirk said.

“She was more concerned about her friends, she had her seatbelt on and she was fine.

A screenshot of Nicole Kirk, the mother of a grade 5 girl who was on the bus when it crashed, speaking to a Nine News reporter at the scene.Credit: Nine News

“We are one of the lucky ones.”

Relatives could be seen leaving the scene with children draped in blankets.

Ambulance Victoria earlier reported 22 people from the bus were taken to hospital and another 25 were being treated at the scene.

However, it later clarified only 14 people had been taken to hospital.

Paramedics stayed on scene to assess patients for more than three hours, the organisation said.

People leave the scene of the crash on Tuesday evening.Credit: Wayne Taylor

Superintendent Cruse said the truck driver, 49, stopped at scene and was assisting police with their inquiries. The man from Balliang, between Geelong and Bacchus Marsh, was not seriously injured in the crash.

Police said detectives from the major collision investigation unit are at the scene examining the incident.

Cruse said authorities expected roads around the area to be closed for some time.

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

With Stephanie Anderson

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