A school bus slowed due to an accident when a truck hit it from behind and forced it off an embankment on a highway west of Melbourne.
A teenage girl and a driver were seriously injured in an accident on the Western Highway near Bacchus Marsh in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
VicRoads was cleaning up a crash from earlier in the night when the truck collided with the bus, police said.
The school bus was carrying four adults and 27 students in years nine through eleven from Ballarat’s Loreto College to the airport for a trip.
“Quite miraculously, they evacuated themselves and other people, I believe truck drivers and that, stopped to help them,” Detective Inspector Roger Schranz told reporters on Wednesday.
“I had assumed that someone would have died from this whole tragedy. So they are all very happy people.”
One of the teenage girls was flown to the Royal Children’s Hospital in serious but stable condition with lower body injuries.
Another girl was also taken by air ambulance to the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Her condition was stable with upper body injuries.
A woman in her 40s and a man in her 50s were also flown to the Royal Melbourne in stable condition.
The police will investigate whether drugs, alcohol or speed were the cause of the accident.
The highways leading to Melbourne are expected to be closed for the rest of the day as researchers analyze the scene.
The studentsParents were asked to stay away from the crash and to contact Ballarat Police Station.
Nearby resident Ange Greenland was awakened by the sound of the oncoming air ambulance.
She told AAP that the crash site was “pretty filthy” and that it was disturbing that the young girls had to walk up the embankment after the crash.
“They walked up the ramp to a waiting bus half a mile away,” she said.
“I was really mad because I thought if it was mine, if it was my child… I couldn’t believe how they were being treated.”