Bus Driver Saved Us Says Passenger

Bus that was carrying 60 passengers that included Sunday school children and parents, avoids overtaking truck and plunges into bush.
27 Nov 2019 13:05
Bus Driver Saved Us Says Passenger
L-R: Tevita Vatulagilagi , Atunaisa Kuricawa , The bus was carrying 60 passengers.

A bus passenger says their driver saved them in yesterday’s Sovi Bay crash.

Adi Mere Nalioko, 51, of Raiwaqa, who was a passenger among children and parents of a Sunday school group from Navosa going on an excursion trip to Suva, said their bus driver had saved them from a possible horrific crash, had he not turned the bus towards the bushes.

“Luckly, our driver turned the bus in that direction otherwise we could have tumbled onto the side and made things worse. The driver did save our lives,” Ms Nailoko said.

She was seated six seats away behind the bus driver.

“All I could see was the corner of the CDP truck that was about to hit the bus and our driver turned the bus and headed for the bush.”

Aisea Vasutoga, 8, of Mavua Village, who was looking forward to touring the capital city, said: “I remember the cries and shouting then I got hurt from the broken window bus. I was really looking forward to tour Suva city and buy some stuff for myself, but now I have to return home.”

Young Aisea and Ms Nalioko are among the 62 people, including the two drivers of the bus and truck, who were involved in the accident yesterday near Sovi Bay, Coral Coast.

A child and four other people are in serious condition at the Lautoka Hospital, while three other people are admitted at the Sigatoka Hospital.

When the Fiji Sun visited the hospital yesterday the students were still in shock.

Tevita Vatulagilagi, 9, of Bemana Village who had visible wounds on his chin said: “I cannot recall what happened, but I am still in shock and in pain.”

Parent Siteri Sugusuguvanua, 38, said her daughter Lusiana, 10, was seated seven seats behind the driver with another lad, Atunaisa Kuricawa, 11, and they needed dental treatment as a result of the accident.

According to Police, the incident occurred near Sovi Bay, around 7am where the bus driver, while avoiding a head-on collision with an oncoming courier truck that was running on its opposite lane, veered off the road and came to a halt after crashing into some bushes off the highway.

The bus was on its way to Suva with children who are members of a Sunday school from Navosa and were travelling with some parents on a one-day excursion.

The CDP truck, driven by a 48-year-old man, was on its way to Sigatoka while the bus was heading to Suva.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said: “As of this afternoon 62 total passengers, including the two drivers, were taken to the hospital. The 48-year-old driver is still in custody.

“As investigations continue to look into the cause of the accident, all drivers need to be extra vigilant as we enter the festive season.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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