St. John’s Antigua- The drive to Wadadli Nature Park turned into a scary ride for a busload of children as it overturned along the trail, less than a minute away from its destination, yesterday morning.
The 30 children and three adults were tossed about the vehicle as it skidded and then flipped onto its side around 10:45 am.
No life threatening injuries were caused and all but one of the victims had been released from Mount St John’s Medical Centre by 4 pm yesterday.
Emergency crews, parents, guardians, relatives, friends and curious onlookers gathered at the scene as word spread of the incident.
One teacher, who was on the trip, said the group was participating in the Vacation Bible School held by the Wesleyan Holiness Church, in Swetes, and the trip was the culminating event.
The teacher, who requested anonymity, said she was travelling in another bus, which was also carrying a group from the church’s Bible school.
She said a third bus, carrying more children to the park, located east of Potworks Dam, was behind the one which crashed.
“We were up front and when we reached the park we did not see the other groups. We offloaded and were doing a head count of the children. While doing that, some of those who were on the other bus directly behind us ran up the trail and told us it had overturned with the children,” the woman said.
The teacher said she was scared and immediately rushed to help. She met the screaming, crying children clinging to one another. She assisted in getting them from the bus.
Emergency workers from Mount St John’s Medical Centre, Coolidge, and St John’s police, among others, briefly attended to the passengers on the scene before the six ambulances deployed took them to the hospital.
The triage area was crowded for hours, not only by those who were involved in the accident, but also with relatives and friends of the victims.
One grandmother cried when she saw her grandson with a bandage to the back of his head, due to a cut he sustained in the crash. Another child had a cut on her arm while another one blacked out on the way to the hospital. The driver, Austin Samuel of Swetes, sustained a cut to the elbow.
Pastor of the Weslyan Holiness Church, in Swetes, Olson Daniel said he was thankful the situation was not worse.
“I have absolutely no doubt it was an attack out of the pits of hell and I am very happy the angels of the Lord were on assignment and were able to dismantle the plans of the devil,” Daniel told OBSERVER Media.
The pastor’s two sons were also on the bus that crashed.
He said even after his offspring had been discharged, he remained at the medical centre to ensure everyone was well.
“As a church we have been praying and it has made an impact because no one suffered serious harm and God is to be thanked,” he added.
Meantime, supervisor of the Emergency Medical Services, Linton Paul, commended the police, fire departments, airport ambulance, nurses, doctors and off duty emergency medical technicians who all assisted in handling the emergency.
While the cause of the accident is under investigations, preliminary reports from police sources indicate the bus engine died as the vehicle climbed the hill. It rolled down before crashing on its side.