A university in regional Victoria remains open after a serious bus accident involving 27 of its students to support those traumatized by the event.
Ballarat’s Loreto College will remain open Thursday, despite Queen Elizabeth II’s national day of mourning, to give students, families and caregivers access to counseling, Principal Michelle Brodrick said.
The college was shocked after a school bus carrying 27 students aged 9 to 11 crashed into an embankment on the Western Highway near Bacchus Marsh in the early hours of Wednesday after being hit from behind by a truck in the early hours of Wednesday.
Police called their escape from the vehicle “miraculous”.
“I think it was quite harrowing for everyone involved — how someone hasn’t been more seriously injured is unbelievable,” acting Superintendent of Victoria Jason Templar told reporters on Wednesday.
Three teenage girls at the Royal Children’s Hospital remain in stable condition.
A woman in her 40s and a man in her 50s are in stable condition at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Steve Buck, CEO of Kangaroo Transport Industries, said the 60-year-old driver was a subcontractor “who has been driving roadtrains safely for over 30 years” and required surgery after becoming trapped in the cab.
The other 25 students on the bus and four adults were taken to hospital for observation, police said.
Speed limits at the time of the accident were reduced following a collision the previous night.
The students were on their way to the airport to travel to a NASA space camp in the United States.
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews offered support to the school on Wednesday after speaking with the principal.
Grampians Health’s Ballarat Base Hospital treated 16 patients from the crash, 13 of whom were discharged Wednesday afternoon.
The Melbourne-bound lanes of the Western Freeway between Ballan and Bacchus Marsh have since reopened, but the eastbound Bacchus Marsh Road exit remains closed.
The detectives of the large collision units are investigating the exact circumstances of the crash.