New details of the horrific accident between a truck and a school bus have emerged, including the truck driver’s frantic efforts to help trapped children after the collision.
The school bus was allegedly rear-ended by a truck and overturned at the corner of Exford and Murphys Rd in Eynesbury, 56 km from melbourne About 3:40 p.m. on Tuesday.
On board were 45 children from Exford Primary School, some of whom suffered life-changing injuries: one student suffered a “complete” amputation and others lost parts of their limbs.
Trucker and father of two Jamie Robert Gleeson, 49, was released on bail Wednesday after being charged with four counts of dangerous driving causing serious injury.
The court heard on Wednesday that Gleeson told police he saw the ‘flickering of the sun’ through the trees moments before the crash and also that he stopped at the scene after the crash, called triple-0 and began helping pull out the children of the rubble.
Daniel Green and Cameron Chalmers were among four tradesmen driving home from a construction site when the accident occurred in front of them.
A court heard Wednesday how trucker Jamie Gleeson (pictured) helped pull the children from the wreckage of the bus moments after the crash.
The four colleagues also helped pull children out of the rubble and held the hands of terrified and injured children trapped inside as they waited for the emergency services to arrive.
“As soon as I opened the access hatch, the screaming was deafening,” Green told Sunrise on Thursday.
‘The screams and cries for help from all the children. The expression on their faces was horrible. Just pure fear.
“We were there for the first time almost 10 seconds after the bus flipped over, we were opening the hatches, helping the children and getting them out.”
Both merchants agreed that it was sunny at the time.
“The sun was coming up at that time of day, but I’m not sure what it looked like,” Green said.
Mr Chalmers added: “The day before I didn’t have my sunglasses on and I had the visor down so the sun was definitely coming into the car.” Such a similar type of weather in recent days.
He added that it was evident that some of the children were seriously injured.
“There was a couple there that looked like they were pretty badly injured and we had to stay with them. We couldn’t move them,” Chalmers said.
“Some of the guys tried to dig them up a bit and we just couldn’t.”
Traders Daniel Green (left) and Cameron Chalmers (right) faced heartbreaking scenes
Trucker Jamie Robert Gleeson (pictured left) reportedly told police he saw the ‘sun flickering’ through the trees in the moments before the accident.
“We kept them comfortable and talked to the children who were still trapped and let the emergency services do their job,” Chalmers said.
“They did a great job and they lifted the bus up and we were able to get them out, which was great.”
Gleeson’s employer and truck operator, L & J Cartage, issued a statement Thursday.
“Our hearts go out to everyone involved, especially the children and their families,” the family transport company said.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by what has happened.”
He also confirmed that Gleeson had 20 years of experience driving trucks and had been with the company for more than 15 years.
Seven children remain in the hospital after the horrible accident. Pictured is the wreckage of the bus at the intersection of Exford Road and Murphys Road in Eynesbury.
Jamie Robert Gleeson has two decades of experience driving trucks, according to his employer
Gleeson was still wearing a high-visibility orange shirt when he appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Reading the police summary, prosecutor Ben Kerlin said Gleeson told police he was on his “usual route home” at the time and was driving about 45 mph.
“The next thing I knew, the bus in front slowed down,” he allegedly told police.
“I tried to take evasive action, but I couldn’t, and if I could have deflected, I would have.”
Kerlin said Gleeson recounted seeing “sun flickers” through the trees that he knew could distort his vision.
“If that played a role in what happened … I couldn’t tell you,” he said, according to the documents.
Gleeson allegedly told police that he would normally react by slowing down in such circumstances, but on this occasion he did not.
The prosecutor told the court that police would need a significant amount of time to prepare the case, asking for 16 weeks to account for the “large number of children involved” and the size of the crash.
He added that Gleeson could face ‘additional charges’ while investigations into the crash continue.
The children were trapped inside the bus before witnesses and emergency workers pulled them out of the rubble and took them to hospital.
Gleeson returned negative blood tests for both drugs and alcohol,
His lawyer successfully applied for bail saying “there was no allegation that he attempted to elope or minimize his involvement.”
As of Thursday morning, seven children remain in the hospital, including one in intensive care. All are in stable condition.
The children sustained multiple and traumatic injuries ranging from partial to complete amputations, crushed limbs, and severe lacerations to the head and body.
Four will require further surgery.
A school bus carrying children from Exford Primary School in Melbourne’s west was allegedly rear-ended by a truck and overturned.