Dannevirke school bus crash: 'My brother's face was covered in blood'

By Christine McKay of Dannevirke News

The Dannevirke school bus which was blown off Top Grass Rd into a power pole yesterday morning, with 14 primary school students on board. Photo / Christine McKay
The Dannevirke school bus which was blown off Top Grass Rd into a power pole yesterday morning, with 14 primary school students on board. Photo / Christine McKay

Police say 14 primary school students were very, very lucky, after their school bus slammed into a concrete power pole near Dannevirke this morning.

The crash was a frightening experience for all the Ruahine School children, nine-year-old Josh Holland said.

"I was reading my book, then everyone started screaming," a shaken Josh said. "I looked out the right window and there was mud splattering up and then I looked to the front and saw we were crashing into the power pole. It was so scary, but I remembered my grandmother had told me about two accidents she'd been in and she'd survived."

Josh's 11-year-old brother Jakab was one of four children injured in the crash.

"My brother's face was covered in blood," he said.

Accident scene: Senior constable Wayne Churchouse, left, talks to one of the Ruahine School students at the site of the school bus crash on Top Grass Rd. Photo / Christine McKay
Accident scene: Senior constable Wayne Churchouse, left, talks to one of the Ruahine School students at the site of the school bus crash on Top Grass Rd. Photo / Christine McKay

Jakab was taken to Palmerston North Hospital with a cut to his head and an injured foot, while the others were taken to Dannevirke Community Hospital with minor injuries. The female Go Bus driver was checked by ambulance staff and was shaken but uninjured.

"We were worried about her because she thought something had hit her chest," Jakab said.

Senior constable Wayne Churchouse of the Dannevirke Police said one young Ruahine School pupil was the hero on board the bus.

"Young Max Lowe was very good in the bus calming children down," he said.

Peter Gower, witnessed the accident, from 100m away, while waiting in his driveway about to turn onto Top Grass Rd.

"He saw a gust of wind come along and he watched as the bus was pushed sideways and go over into the concrete pole," wife Denise said. "He rang 111 and thank goodness he wasn't five minutes earlier on the road. It might have been him instead."

The area of Rua Roa is notorious for gale force winds but she said this was the first serious accident she'd seen in nine years likely to have been caused by the wind.

Mr Churchouse said the older school children had been brilliant looking after the younger ones while police rescued them through the emergency exit door of the bus.

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