BRAVE BOY: Liam Sladden, 13, was sitting in one of the front seats of the school bus that was hit head-on in a horror Warrego Highway crash last Friday. He suffered two broken bones in his leg and a broken thumb.
BRAVE BOY: Liam Sladden, 13, was sitting in one of the front seats of the school bus that was hit head-on in a horror Warrego Highway crash last Friday. He suffered two broken bones in his leg and a broken thumb.

Final moments before horror fatal school bus crash revealed

The final moments before a car ploughed head-on into a school bus full of children on a southern Queensland highway have been revealed.

It was the quick-thinking of school bus driver Colin Stafford to slow the bus carrying 17 students down to an almost-stop along the 110km zone of the Warrego Highway moments before a car collided head-on that parents believe saved their children's lives.

Yuleba mother Fallon Sladden's two sons Liam, 13, and Brae, 12, were aboard the bus when a car slammed head-on about 3.20pm on Friday, May 14.

Liam was sitting in one of the front seats when the crash happened and witnessed the oncoming car.

"He (Liam) said Col kept flashing his lights and slowed the bus down to about 15km/hr," she said.

When the car collided with the school bus, the sheer force smashed in the front of the vehicle, with Liam suffering broken tibia and fibula bones in his leg and a broken thumb.

AT THE SCENE: A southwest Queensland bus driver has been hailed as a hero for his lifesaving driving skills after a car crashed into the bus head-on.
AT THE SCENE: A southwest Queensland bus driver has been hailed as a hero for his lifesaving driving skills after a car crashed into the bus head-on.

 

The teenager pulled himself out of the wreck while the 16 other students and Mr Stafford suffered minor lacerations and abrasions.

"Colin was the saving grace for our kids as far as I'm concerned," Mrs Sladden said.

"I can't commend him highly enough and how he handled that situation.

"He did a marvellous job as a bus driver and kept our kids safe, I even hugged him at the hospital, I saw him again this afternoon and couldn't stop crying and thanking him."

The passenger in the car, a 30-year-old Chinchilla woman, was killed and the 37-year-old Western Downs driver was left fighting for her life in a Brisbane hospital after she was flown by helicopter.

The Forensic Crash Unit are still investigating the cause of the crash.

In the days since the horrific crash, Mr Stafford has either visited or called each of the kids who were on the bus to make sure they are OK.

It has been revealed Mr Stafford had seatbelts installed in his school bus in recent years at his own expense.

"If those kids didn't have seat belts, some of them would have been thrown," Mrs Sladden said.

"I don't think my child would be here to this day if he didn't have that seatbelt on."

"He goes above and beyond for our children."

"He's a true hero."

Originally published as Final moments before horror fatal school bus crash revealed



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