27 schoolgirls and 5 staff members hospitalized after bus collides with truck and tumbles down slope
The students were headed straight to Melbourne airport in order to board a flight to visit the NASA space camp at Florida's Kennedy Space Center
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: On September 14, Wednesday morning, a brown bus carrying 27 schoolgirls, four adults, and the driver fell 50 meters down a slope after being slammed into a truck. It is reported that the students were headed straight to Melbourne Airport in order to board a flight to the US to visit the NASA space camp at Florida's Kennedy Space Center.
Around 3.15 am, the truck and their bus crashed on the Western Highway close to Condons Lane. All 32 passengers were taken directly to hospitals, with one teenage girl reportedly in critical condition after being flown from the scene. The truck driver, aged in his 50s, who had been seriously injured in the collision, was also transported to the hospital right away.
Jason Templar, acting superintendent of Ballarat Police, claimed that the fact that every passenger on the deadly school bus was buckled up likely contributed to the lack of fatalities. "Early indications from the investigations is that they were all wearing seatbelts which has probably saved any fatalities from the bus, which is fantastic," he said. "Had that not been the case... We could have been talking about a different outcome."
A crash investigator has revealed how a school bus filled with students on their way to Melbourne Airport for an overseas trip was slammed into by a loaded truck on a highway that had become congested following an earlier accident.https://t.co/zbQIlegeAs— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) September 21, 2022
The head of the Loreto College Ballarat, Michelle Brodrick, where the teenage girls studied, referred to the trip to NASA as "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," as reported by news.com.au. Brodrick added, "That's where they thought they were going to be today." Loreto College Ballarat appreciated the treatment the injured folks had received.
"Emergency responders attended the site and co-ordinated the care and support for students and staff who were triaged at the scene and transported to hospital and remain in excellent care. The college is very appreciative of the quick and professional response of the emergency services personnel at the scene, and very grateful to Grampians Health for their ongoing support. Our caring Loreto community has deep concern for the injured and their families and we ask for their privacy to be respected," the school's statement read.
The students were traveling to the US and would spend seven nights at the NASA space camp, two nights in Washington, a tour of the US Capitol, lunch with an astronaut, and an airboat excursion through the Florida Everglades. The expedition, which cost parents $7500 per student, was previously postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid regulations.
Police have advised parents to avoid the area and phone the nearby police station for the most recent information. Anyone with information on the crash's cause is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000. Police are investigating what led to the collision.