Friday 6 December 2019

'Good news' as students injured in school bus crash left with only minor injuries

  • Majority of those injured now discharged from University Hospital Limerick
  • Four patients admitted
  • All injuries were non-life threatening but a small number of fractures were treated
  • Crash happened in the village of Hospital at around 8.30am
A school bus crashed near Caherconlish in Co Limerick. Photograph: Press 22
A school bus crashed near Caherconlish in Co Limerick. Photograph: Press 22 Newsdesk Newsdesk

Four patients have been admitted to University Hospital Limerick for their injuries following an early morning crash involving a school bus in Limerick this morning.

In an updated statement from Limerick University Hospital they say that 36 patients presented at the hospital following this morning's crash but the majority have now been discharged.

However, four patients continue to be assessed for injuries that are described as non-life threatening.

The hospital say that the injuries sustained were musculoskeletal and soft tissue injuries.

They have also treated a small number of fractures.

Students, aged 13-18, were en-route to John the Baptist Community School in the village of Hospital when the crash occurred around 8.30am.

Principal of the school, Noreen Rafferty, said the "news was good" following the crash.

"The news is very good. We are down to our last four and they're gong to be discharged," she told RTE's News at One.

"Their injuries were just scrapes...I think one thumb is in a cast because of torn ligaments but they are all well, very shocked," she said.

The principal also paid tribute to the care the students received at the hospital and to the first responders.

"The emergency services were absolutely fantastic," she said.

Teachers on their way to the school were on the scene quite quickly, she said.

Children and their families were also offered counselling while in hospital and follow-up psychiatric support is being arranged through their school.

The hospital incident group formed in response to this incident has been stood down and operations have returned to normal.

The incident occurred in the town land of Caherconlish known as Connelly’s Cross in Co Limerick.

Around 46 students were on their way to a local secondary school in area when the crash happened at around 8.30am.

Station officer James Kearns from the local fire brigade spoke to the Limerick Leader at the scene and said that 26 people - 24 of them students were hospitalised.

Two adults were also brought to hospital.

By the time emergency services had arrived the bus had been emptied of the pupils, the driver was still on the bus and there was a female casualty in a car.

Several units of the Limerick city and council fire brigade and a fleet of ambulances attended the scene of the crash.

Injured students took shelter in a nearby disused filling station where they were assessed by paramedics.

A Medivac helicopter was also deployed to the scene.

UL Hospitals Group CEO Prof Colette Cowan said: “This was a distressing incident for everyone involved and I would like to pay tribute to all the emergency services for their effective response in managing it. We are proud to work alongside colleagues in the National Ambulance Service, Fire Service, An Garda Siochana, Limerick City and County Council and MidWest Community Healthcare. Our own staff at UHL showed exceptional dedication in managing the situation with many turning up to help without having been called in. I would also like to thank St John the Baptist Community School for their professionalism and they can rely on our support if required in the coming days and weeks.”

The school bus overturned into a ditch as a result of the incident.

Electrical power lines were also knocked down

Education Minister Richard Bruton said his department will support the emergency crews working at the scene and the school community.

“This is an emergency situation where medical and all teams man the pumps. Whatever supports can be provided will be provided to the school community and to the children involved.”

He added: “It’s a worrying time and our hearts are with them.”

Transport minister Shane Ross began a statement to the Oireachtas Transport Committee by mentioning this morning's accident in Limerick.

He said full information about the incident is not yet available but that: "our thoughts are with the families at the moment".

He added: "It’s a sad and worrying time".

Bus Eireann in a statement confirmed that the bus involved was a sub-contracted vehicle.

The company is continuing to assist the relevant authorities.

"We would like to express our gratitude to all the emergency services for their rapid response, and we will continue to liaise with the school and parents of the injured students," the company said in a statement.

In a statement University Hospital Limerick said an incident group has been formed and additional staff assigned to the Emergency Department.

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