Stuck bag creates bus near-miss
An 11-year-old Torbay boy got trapped in the back doors of his school bus by his bag and dragged along the ground before managing to escape.
Alec McGregor was swiping his bus card and exiting the bus when his bag got caught in the doors.
The bus was empty so no-one could tell the driver to stop as it started to drive away, Alec says.
"I was sort of scared," he says, as was his twin Luke who witnessed the incident.
"My friends were like ‘woah'," he says, as they watched him twist out of his bag straps and leap on to the pavement as the bus drove off.
Alec was shaken but not injured by the incident.
A friend followed the bus by scooter to the next stop on another street to collect the bag.
Mum Paula was shocked it happened to her son.
Mrs McGregor has heard from other local families of similar incidents weeks earlier, including one boy getting his head stuck in the bus door.
North Shore schoolboy Matthew Taylor, 12, was killed in May 2000 after being dragged by his bag which also got caught in the back doors of a school bus.
Mrs McGregor remembers the tragedy well and is angry similar incidents are still happening.
She rang North Star bus company which operates the school bus to lay a complaint.
A manager rang her the next day to apologise and said they would remind bus drivers of their responsibilities and that it should not happen again, she says.
She says North Star told her newer buses have sensors.
Ten days later another North Star employee rang and Mrs McGregor says when she explained another manager had rung, they hung up.
An apology is not good enough, she says.
"I don't want to see this left up to the driver."
Mrs McGregor says newer buses with sensors should be used for schoolchildren and has told her sons to always use the front door from now on.
Ensuring children's safety should be a priority for bus companies, she says.
NZ Bus spokesman Rajeev Jadoo said during an investigation into the incident it was discovered the sensor in the door on the bus Alec was on was broken.
It has now been repaired, he says.
''All NZ Bus buses are fitted with sensors on the rear doors so they open in emergency situations and prevent trapping of objects or people.''
''The driver in this case was extremely apologetic and understands that his actions could have resulted in a more serious accident,'' he said.
All students on school buses must exit from the front door unless it is the last stop on the route, he said.
The driver will be attending a safe driving course next month.
The incident will be reviewed by NZ Bus' health and safety committee.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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