Three investigations are under way into school bus accident
Preliminary inspections have found the school bus which crashed carrying 50 students was in perfect mechanical condition.
While tests remain ongoing by Garda public service vehicle inspectors, the preliminary indications support the theory that the extreme weather conditions, including torrential rainfall and spot flooding, played a critical role in the accident in Co Cork on Monday.
Miraculously, despite the severity of the accident, no one sustained serious injuries.
Three investigations are now under way by Bus Éireann, the Gardaí and the Health and Safety Authority into the accident at Cregg South, on the Ballyhooly-Fermoy Road, in north Cork.
The 53-seater bus, carrying two drivers and 50 students, collided with a ditch after apparently losing control on a steep hill leading to a sharp bend.
The accident occurred at 8.20am as the coach, operated by a Bus Éireann sub-contractor, was bringing teenagers to three Fermoy secondary schools - Coláiste an Chraoibhín, St Colman's and Loreto.
Incredibly, despite the coach overturning onto its side and a small tree piercing the rear cabin trapping three students, none of the crew or passengers were seriously injured.
One student, Adam Cronin (16), suffered suspected nerve damage to his lower leg. Despite initial fears, his leg was not fractured.
Another student, Catriona Nugent (17), suffered cuts and bruises. Catriona admitted she was "lucky to be alive" after the tree had pierced the window beside her and passed just inches from her head. A third student, Caoimhe Gowen (14), suffered a neck injury after being thrown around the bus as it collided with the ditch.
Bus Éireann confirmed the vehicle belonged to another firm. "We can confirm a vehicle sub-contracted for its school transport services - travelling on the road from Pound Cross, Rathcormac to Ballyhooly - was involved in an accident . . . which resulted in the bus leaving the road," Bus Éireann said.
"The bus is operated by Glenferry Coaches and was en route to Fermoy (schools)."
"The cause of the accident has not yet been established but is currently under investigation by Bus Éireann and the relevant authorities," added the company.