School staff found children trapped in bus after crash
Staff of a small primary school in Melbourne's west had to triage their seriously injured students after a truck crashed into the back of their school bus.
The bus was a less than a kilometre from Exford Primary School in Eynesbury when the vehicles collided about 3.40pm on Tuesday.
School principal Lisa Campo said staff were notified of the crash as they started their afternoon meeting.
They rushed to the scene to help, thinking it was only a minor collision, but arrived to an overturned bus with several children trapped.
"I honestly thought I'd just be there comforting some distressed kids," Ms Campo told reporters on Wednesday.
"I didn't expect to see that. I hope I never see that again."
The staff and passing motorists began triaging the children before emergency services arrived on scene.
"It is a difficult environment to work in. The intersection is surrounded by paddocks, we had to set up just temporary triage areas," Victoria Police Superintendent Michael Cruse told reporters.
Eighteen children aged five to 11 were taken to the Royal Children's and Sunshine hospitals, including seven with traumatic or serious injuries.
Seven patients remain in the Royal Children's, including one in intensive care.
Ms Campo said the teachers remained at the accident scene until every child had been taken to hospital.
"The staff are just amazing," she said.
"Even though you could see that they were tired and cold and distressed, they stayed until all the kids were safely away."
The principal said support would be available to the affected children, their families and staff members.
She also thanked the broader community, many of whom stopped to help on Tuesday afternoon.
"We've been inundated with messages of love and support and food and flowers," Ms Campo said.
"It's just lovely to know that that our community is right there with us."