SCHOOL BUS DRIVER HAILED A HERO

Au­thor­i­ties feared worst after crash in hor­ror spot

NewsMail - - FRONT PAGE - EMMA REID [email protected]

A SCHOOL bus driver has been praised as a “hero” after he avoided a “cat­a­strophic crash” on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. It was in the mid­dle of the wild af­ter­noon weather when Ste­wart and Sons bus driver Phil Old left El­liott Heads State School with about 25 stu­dents on board.

A SCHOOL bus driver has been praised as a “hero” after he avoided a “cat­a­strophic crash” on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

It was in the mid­dle of the wild af­ter­noon weather when Ste­wart and Sons bus driver Phil Old left El­liott Heads State School with about 25 stu­dents on board.

School prin­ci­pal Ni­chola Lis­ter said the rain was pelt­ing down and the wind was howl­ing when the bus came to col­lect the chil­dren.

“Phil pulled in nice and close to the school so the chil­dren wouldn’t get wet as they got on the bus,” Ms Lis­ter said.

“It re­ally was wild weather – it was an in­cred­i­ble storm, the worst I’ve seen in my time here at El­liott Heads.”

The bus then trav­elled along El­liott Heads Rd to­ward Moore St, when the wind picked up to an un­be­liev­able strength.

The force of the wild weather is said to have pushed the

IT COULD HAVE BEEN CAT­A­STROPHIC IF THE BUS DRIVER DIDN’T TAKE CON­TROL LIKE HE DID QFES SPOKESMAN bus off the road as it was tak­ing the cor­ner at Moore St.

There have been a num­ber of crashes at the cor­ner of El­liott Heads Rd and Moore St.

In 2016 a res­i­dent re­called the mo­ment a car flipped after tak­ing out his fence at the in­ter­sec­tion.

A Queens­land Fire and Emer­gency spokesman said when the call came in on Wed­nes­day, they feared the worst.

He said the in­ter­sec­tion was known for near-misses.

“It could have been cat­a­strophic if the bus driver didn’t take con­trol like he did,” he said.

The bus driver missed the power pole as the bus slid out and he was able to stop the bus with­out flip­ping it.

“He just held the wheel and kept the chil­dren safe,” Ms Lis­ter said.

Ste­wart and Sons owner Julie Ste­wart praised her longterm em­ployee la­belling him a hero.

“It was an amaz­ing show of skill, which he gath­ered through the years of driv­ing trucks and buses around Aus­tralia,” Mrs Ste­wart said.

“He was only do­ing about 30–40km/hour.

“There was re­ally heavy rain and wa­ter on the road, but you couldn’t see the wa­ter.

“He fo­cused on the chil­dren’s safety and his lit­tle pas­sen­gers have al­ways been his num­ber one pri­or­ity.”

Two chil­dren were trans­ported to hos­pi­tal with mi­nor in­juries after the in­ci­dent on Wed­nes­day.

Since the in­ci­dent Mr Old has de­cided to take time off from work in or­der to spend more time with his fam­ily.

“We thank him very much for ev­ery­thing,” Mrs Ste­wart said.

“he will be missed very much.”

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