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School bus crashes in Margaree on Valentine’s Day

This photo of the accident does not do justice as to how far the bus went down into the ditch. First responders said it was about a 12 foot drop. It was a miracle that that no one was injured.



-by April MacDonald

    It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.
    When they turn five you send them off into the world to learn and to hone their social skills.
    The former superintendent of schools for the Strait Regional School Board, Ford Rice, used to always refer to students travelling by bus as the most precious of cargo.
    At approximately 3:20 p.m. on Thursday, February 14th, there was a bus accident on Coady Road, near South West Margaree.
    There were 13 students (comprised of grades primary to nine) on board, who attend Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre/Academy in Terre Noire.
    911 was called.  EHS, RCMP, and the fire department, along with Strait Regional Centre for Education transportation staff, responded to the scene.
    Based on the initial assessment by EHS at the scene, all students were assessed by EHS and cleared to be released.
    No further medical treatment was required at the time.
    The driver was not injured.
    Nine students were released to their parents and four went home on a replacement bus.
    Speaking with Deanna Gillis, coordinator of Communications for the Strait Regional Centre for Education she said that, “based on our initial investigation, the bus driver was attempting to avoid a parked vehicle on the road when it lost control due to the icy road conditions. As a result, the bus left the road and went down over an embankment,” she added.
    The RCMP and the SRCE’s Transportation staff are continuing to investigate.
    SRCE has also reported the accident to the Motor Carrier Division.
    “On Friday, there were staff in place at the school who were providing follow up support to check in with the students, reinforce with them how well they cooperated on the scene, and to know that we care, are proud of them for using what they have learned in emergency drills, and, if they need further support, how to access it,” explained Gillis.
    School administration contacted parents and guardians of all students on board at the time of the accident and again on Friday morning to let them know what support is being provided for students.
    Speaking with a mother of two boys, who were on the bus when it crashed, she said that it was an unfortunate accident.
    “We count our blessings that there were no injuries and our two boys came home safe and sound,” said Diana MacKinnon.
    “But an accident is exactly what it was,” she added.
    “We place no blame, but feel very fortunate that we have such a caring bus driver, who quickly took action and handled the situation so well,” said MacKinnon.
    She said her family is thankful for RCMP, the fire department, and EHS who gave each child “the most amazing care.”
    “And the staff of CBHA/EC that have been outstanding,” she said.
    “The staff was quick with notifications of the accident, phoned to check on how the boys were doing and had multiple supports in place the next day,” explained MacKinnon.
    “For such a scary accident, I think we have had the best possible outcome a person could hope for,” she closed.
    In addition, Principal Peter Goosens sent a communication out to all families on Friday afternoon.
    The following is what was sent out:
Dear Parents/Guardians/Students:
    As you may be aware, yesterday, February 14th, 2019, one of our school buses was involved in an accident while driving students home after school. There were 13 students on board at the time. 911 was contacted and the local Margaree Forks Fire Department, RCMP, EHS personnel, and SRCE Transportation Staff responded to the scene and provided wonderful support to our students.
    Thankfully, all students were assessed by EHS and cleared to be released, and the driver was not injured. Nine students were released to their parents and four went home on a replacement bus.
    Based on the initial investigation, the bus driver was attempting to avoid a parked vehicle on the road when it lost control due to the icy road conditions. As a result, the bus left the road and went down over an embankment.
    Shortly after the accident, school administration contacted parents/guardians of all students on board at the time of the accident and again this morning to let them know what support is being provided for students today. We had staff in place today at the school providing follow up support to check in with the students, reinforce with them how well they cooperated on the scene and to know that we care, are proud of them for using what they have learned in emergency drills and, if they need further support, how to access it.
    If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation.

Sincerely,
Peter Goosens
Principal

 

 

 

 

 

       



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