Emergency services recognised for efforts in Eynesbury bus accident

Published:
Saturday, 20 April 2024 at 5:25 am

Emergency services have been recognised for their efforts in rescuing several school children from a bus accident in Exford near Eynesbury last May.

On 16 May 2023, a truck collided with a school bus carrying 46 children, shocking the local and broader communities. 

A large-scale multiagency rescue taking several hours was undertaken to save multiple casualties. Fortunately, there were no fatalities however some of the injuries the children sustained will have permanent implications for the rest of their lives. 

To recognise the exceptional leadership, professionalism and dedication of crews involved, members from CFA, FRV and VICSES received awards at a ceremony on Saturday 20 April. 

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said he was honoured to present CFA members with the CFA Unit Citation for Service and the Chief Officer’s Commendation for their incredible efforts that day.

“I’m proud of all our members and our partner emergency services for their exceptional work on an extremely traumatic incident,” Chief Officer Heffernan said.

“Our crews faced the fear of responding to an incident where they knew some of the casualties which is always incredibly challenging, but crews set their minds to the task at hand and as a result saved many young lives.”

FRV Commissioner Gavin Freeman AFSM said this was a tragic event, and it was fitting to thank the first responders at FRV, CFA and VICSES and recognise their dedication and service during extremely difficult circumstances.

“The crash site was a particularly confronting scene, especially for the public, who were first to assist our emergency responders. Interagency cooperation saw us ‘work as one’, with our joint effort instilling confidence in our first responders,” Commissioner Freeman said.

 “I’m proud to recognise and thank the FRV firefighters involved through the awarding of a Commissioner’s Commendation and FRV Unit Citation for Service. Our firefighters, along with CFA and VICSES, worked for many hours to free those who were trapped and offered comfort during this tragedy.”

VICSES Chief Officer Tim Wiebusch said this award is a welcome recognition of these volunteers’ selflessness and congratulated each and every one of them.

“I’m incredibly proud of how our professional volunteers showcased their specialist rescue skills and lived out the VICSES’ value commitment to its community in such a complex rescue involving mass casualties, working efficiently and collaboratively with our partner agencies to successfully rescue multiple victims in life-threatening scenarios, whilst assisting multiple walking wounded as well”.

“These incidents presented unique physical, mental and emotional challenges for our VICSES volunteers, which were only exacerbated by having children involved.”

Updated