Tree sends bus over edge

Univer­sity stu­dents lucky to es­cape in­jury af­ter coach sent off road by fallen tree

Myrtleford Times - - News - BY JUSTIN JENVEY jjen­vey@ne­me­

A COBB and Co coach driver and his 11 pas­sen­gers have come away un­scathed af­ter the bus they were in was left bal­anc­ing on the edge of a cliff af­ter being forced off the Bo­gong High Plains Road by a fallen tree on Satur­day.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened at about 1.50pm, just one kilo­me­tre past Bo­gong Vil­lage, as the bus car­ry­ing 11 out­door ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents from La Trobe Univer­sity headed towards Falls Creek.

Lead­ing Se­nior Con­sta­ble Peter Johns of Mt Beauty police said a burnt moun­tain ash came down on the road and speared the side of the bus.

“The tree was prob­a­bly around 15-20 me­tres in length and the top three to four me­tres has bro­ken off and hit the side of the bus,” he said.

“The bus driver has ob­vi­ously swerved to his left which is towards the edge of the road and a very steep em­bank­ment.

“For­tu­nately with the some mois­ture on the side of the road and some fallen trees in the right po­si­tion the bus has been stopped from go­ing over.

“The front part of the bus was al­most em­bed­ded in the ground and there was also a large fallen tree that helped sta­bilise the bus on the down­hill side.”

The driver was forced to break a win­dow on the top side of the bus to al­low him and his pas­sen­gers to climb out.

Ldg Snr Const Johns said four ma­jor bush­fires over the course of decade had re­sulted in tress reg­u­larly fall­ing across the Bo­gong High Plains Road.

“Tree fall­ing over on the road is al­most a com­mon oc­cur­rence and I guess we’ve been lucky that we have seen any­thing more se­ri­ous,” he said.

“On this oc­ca­sion it was very for­tu­nate that no one was in­jured.

“The driver did noth­ing wrong it was just very un­lucky or very lucky whichever way you want to look at it.”

A heavy haulage tower truck ar­rived that af­ter­noon to re­move the bus but two were re­quired to safely re­cover the bus, forc­ing the clo­sure of the road between 12pm and 2pm on Sun­day.

Ear­lier on Satur­day a man was air­lifted from Falls Creek af­ter suf­fer­ing heart at­tack while ski­ing.

The 60 year-old was as­sisted by doc­tors on the slopes be­fore paramedics ar­rived and was taken by air am­bu­lance to hospi­tal in a sta­ble con­di­tion at about 11.50am.

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