Ballarat school students thank bus driver after truck crash

Damascus College students say thanks to bus driver Kim Anders for the care she showed following Monday’s crash. PICTURE: KATE HEALY

Damascus College students say thanks to bus driver Kim Anders for the care she showed following Monday’s crash. PICTURE: KATE HEALY

DAMASCUS College students have initiated a heart-warming reunion with the bus driver who cared for them in the traumatic moments following Monday’s Main Road crash.

Kim Anders was driving 41 students home from school when a truck pulled out of Stanbury Avenue and collided side-on with the bus.

On Wednesday, the Davis Bus Lines driver returned to the route for the first time since the accident and was greeted by students bearing flowers, a card and hugs.

Damascus College principal Matthew Byrne said the gesture of thanks was a initiative of the students, who were moved by the care they received in the wake of the collision.

“Under the pressure of the circumstances she really cared for them,” Mr Byrne said.

“She encouraged them to get off the bus and just nurtured them all afternoon and allowed them to know that things were OK.

“The kids themselves asked if we could help facilitate acknowledging the care she gave them under very traumatic circumstances.”

The clearly beloved driver appeared deeply touched, offering up many thank-yous and hugs of her own.

“Thank you very much to Damascus,” she said.

“They’re a great bunch of kids. I try to look after them like they’re my own.”

“They’re a great bunch of kids. I try to look after them like they’re my own” - Bus driver Kim Anders

Mr Byrne said there was no chance for Ms Anders to take evasive action but her quick-thinking meant the bus escaped a potential head-on collision with oncoming traffic after the truck slammed in its side.

Instead of slamming on the brakes, she also guided the bus to a gentle stop.

Mr Byrne said there had been some anxiety among the students about getting back on the bus, but having Ms Anders back in the drivers’ seat would go a long way towards easing their concerns.

He said most of the students involved in the crash were back at school on Wednesday and returning to their normal routines.

“There is a nice rapport there, particularly between the senior students who have had her over a longer period of time,” Mr Byrne said.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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