School-bus seatbelts prove blessing

Seatbelts on a school bus helped two Nelson Christian Academy students escape uninjured after a collision - the second accident involving the school's buses in 18 months.

The bus and a car collided yesterday in Main Rd, Hope, just before 4pm.

The bus, which had seatbelts installed, was a replacement for a bus operating on the same school run that was hit by a car last year.

The 75-year-old woman driver of the car was taken to Nelson Hospital with multiple injuries. She was in a stable condition in the intensive-care unit this morning.

The bus driver and two Christian Academy pupils were uninjured.

Detective senior sergeant Wayne McCoy said the police were investigating.

"It would appear from speaking to witnesses at the scene that the motor vehicle has turned in front of the bus in a U-turn and been hit."

There was no culpability on the bus driver's part and further investigations were continuing, he said.

In June last year, a woman driver failed to break at a stop sign and hit the school bus, sending it rolling into a paddock near Wakefield.

The two children on board suffered minor injuries and the woman was later found guilty of three charges of careless driving causing injury.

Principal Chris George confirmed this morning that the bus involved in the previous accident was from the same route, but it occurred in a different place. It was not the same driver.

The replacement bus had seatbelts installed, which they were thankful for this time.

"We're very pleased to have had those belts and we're quite positively assured they kept the kids even more safe," Mr George said.

He had not yet spoken to those involved, but understood that everyone was all right, although a little shaken.

"It's very upsetting. We are so thankful that the children are physically OK. They are a little shaken. We are really thankful to God everyone is OK."

St John ambulance spokesman Gary Tobin said they were called to the scene about 3.45pm.

The front quarter of the car on the driver's side hit the front of the bus.

The driver, a Richmond woman, was trapped in the car.

Mr Tobin said ambulance and fire service staff worked together to look after the woman, who suffered multiple injuries.

She was taken to Nelson Hospital and was in a moderate condition.

Ambulance staff also assessed the bus driver and the two children passengers, who were all uninjured.