PARENTS’ told of their fear for their children after their school bus veered off a road down an embankment.
Marti Rice, 40, whose daughters Stella Tapp, six and Rhea Tapp, nine, were on the bus. She said: “It was pure fear. I just ran down the road and saw the emergency services, fire engines, police cars.”
The primary school pupils escaped with minor injuries when their bus veered off a Valleys road and down a verge narrowly avoiding a 20ft drop.
The Stagecoach bus was carrying 16 youngsters aged between five and 11 to Abercarn Primary School when it left the road at Twyn Hill crashing through trees before coming to a stop metres from two houses on the road below.
Three children suffered minor injuries, including a bump to the head and an injured ankle. The driver was said to have been uninjured but shaken. All children were wearing seat belts.
Post office worker Christine Roch who saw the accident happen around 9am helped get the children to safety. She called the emergency services, whilst the driver and an adult supervisor also travelling on the bus led the children to the nearby St Luke’s Surgery.
A GP checked those with injuries over before they were taken to the school where parents later collected them.
Marti Rice, 40, whose daughters Stella Tapp, six and Rhea Tapp, nine, were on the bus was alerted to the accident by a friend.
She said: "I had a feeling about them getting on the bus so I shouldn’t have gone with it. I cannot describe or explain it - it was pure fear. I just ran down the road and saw the emergency services, fire engines, police cars. I went on to the bus and saw they were ok. They all seemed quite calm."
Rhea said: "We were driving down the road then the bus just slipped on some ice. I was scared. Some people were screaming and some were crying. People weren’t very happy."
Sarah Richards, 46, said her daughter Hope, five, seem remarkably unscathed by the incident.
She said: "She said she was obviously very frightened but she hasn’t shed any tears. She just said the bus slid into the trees."
"As a mother you are undecided what to do when the weather is this bad to let your children go [to school]. When it’s your children you are left a little concerned as to whether it could have been avoided but we will have to wait and see. I am just glad she is safe,"
Locals said the road is not part of a regular bus route but was the one the school bus took every day.
Firefighters from Malpas rescue tender helped with the recovery of the vehicle, which took around four hours.
A spokesman on behalf of Abercarn Primary School and Caerphilly Council said he could not speculate on the cause of the accident, but said advice had been issued to school bus operators to review their routes in light of the continuing weather conditions.
A spokesman for Stagecoach said road conditions in the area were reported to have been icy with surfaces untreated.
The firm said safety was its number one priority and it would assist Gwent police with their investigation.