School bus crash victims require amputations

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A number of children involved in a horror school bus crash on Tuesday in Melbourne have required “partial and complete amputations of arms”.

Royal Children’s Hospital chief executive Bernadette McDonald gave a grim update to the media on Wednesday morning, outlining the severity of the injuries.

“We have a number of children with partial, one child has had a complete amputation,” she said.

Ms McDonald said one child was still in ICU but was “likely to come out later”.

“We received nine patients yesterday,” she said.

“Two of them, fortunately, were discharged from the emergency department with minor injuries. We admitted seven patients. One of those patients is in our intensive care unit at the moment. The ages of the children range from five to 11 years.

“The children have suffered multiple and traumatic injuries, including partial and complete amputations of arms, multiple crush limb injuries, severe lacerations to head and body injuries, glass shard injuries and three patients are currently receiving spinal support and being monitored, carefully, in terms of spinal injuries.

“We still have two patients to go into theatre. The theatre teams did operate until the early hours of the morning, and we still have more theatre to go today. Some of these patients will require returns to theatres and multiple surgeries in the coming days and the coming weeks.

“When we became aware of the nature of the injuries, we called in specialist plastic surgery and vascular surgery support from the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

The horror crash occurred on Tuesday afternoon. Picture: Seven NewsThe horror crash occurred on Tuesday afternoon. Picture: Seven News

“We want to say a big thank you to the Royal Melbourne team for bringing us those surgeons so quickly to support the surgeries overnight. I also want to acknowledge the work of the ambulance paramedics who were on the scene very, very quickly and who transported those seriously ill children to us very, very quickly yesterday afternoon and into the evening.

“So, our teams, I want to acknowledge, responded beautifully last night, in these sorts of situations. Our trauma team takes precedence and coordinates care. Our emergency department, our theatre teams and our trauma team did beautifully as well as every staff member in the hospital.

“I couldn’t get people to go home last night. They were all wanting to stay and actually help in any way possible. It was very calm and very well controlled, and very well responded to last night. So I want to acknowledge how proud I am of the team that work at the Royal Children’s Hospital and the magnificent care they provide in these sorts of situations.”

Ms McDonald said she was “very surprised” that there were no fatalities.

“I would never say we’re lucky,” she said.

“This is traumatic for every single person involved, the families, we have some very traumatised families and children in our hospital at the moment and we’re working extremely hard to provide that trauma support and care that they will need not just now in the coming weeks and months as well.”

The school bus rolled on its side in Eynesbury. Picture: Seven NewsThe school bus rolled on its side in Eynesbury. Picture: Seven News

The children were seriously injured when their school bus flipped onto its side after a crash with a truck, trapping several of the passengers.

A senior police office said it was “very lucky” none of the nearly 50 primary school children on board had been killed.

“The scene is obviously a really significant scene, the bus has suffered significant damage and it’s also overturned,” Victoria Police Superintendent Michael Cruse said on Tuesday.

“So it’s very fortunate that the incident isn’t more serious, but I must stress it’s still a very serious incident.”

Emergency services rushed to the scene at the corner of Exford and Murphys Rd in Eynesbury on Melbourne’s western fringe about 3.40pm on Tuesday.

The accident happened close to Exford Primary School.

There were chaotic scenes as dozens of CFA, SES, paramedic and police personnel worked desperately to free the children from the bus, while bystanders, parents and teachers from the local school comforted others.

Ambulance Victoria said 10 children had been taken to hospital, along with an adult and three other children in a stable condition.

The children suffered ‘multiple and traumatic injuries’. Picture: Seven NewsThe children suffered ‘multiple and traumatic injuries’. Picture: Seven News

Photos from the scene showed dozens of emergency workers freeing those trapped on board through an emergency exit.

Superintendent Cruse said 46 people, including the bus driver, had been in the bus.

He said police believe the bus was trying to turn right into Murphys Rd before the truck collided with its rear wheel.

A number of children were helped out of the bus by good Samaritans before emergency services arrived on the scene.

One mother spoke about the horror of having her child involved.

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

“She was more concerned about her friends. She had her seatbelt on and she was fine. We are one of the lucky ones.”

Superintendent Cruse said the inciddent could have been a lot worse.

“It’s very lucky,” he said.

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The 49-year-old truck driver stopped at the scene and is assisting police with their inquiries.

— with NCA NewsWire

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