Kilmore crash: Victoria Police say 65-year-old school bus driver had medical episode in fatal crash

Holly Hales and Callum Godde
AAP
2 Min Read
Emergency services were called to the bus crash near Kilmore.
Emergency services were called to the bus crash near Kilmore. Credit: 7News/Supplied

Police have confirmed the school bus driver who died in a crash north of Melbourne suffered a medical episode, as Victoria’s premier praised a tradie who rescued dozens of children on board.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman provided the update on Thursday afternoon while investigations continue into the crash, which killed a 65-year-old Wallan man.

Emergency services were called to Wandong Road in Kilmore, north of Melbourne, about 3.30pm on Wednesday.

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The vehicle, carrying 32 students from Assumption College, left the road and struck a tree.

The driver died at the scene and one student suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries and has since been released from hospital.

“At this early stage of the investigation, it’s believed the driver suffered a medical episode,” the police spokeswoman said in a statement.

Tradesman Colby Bartels was driving home from work when he saw the bus off the road, stopping and climbing through the driver’s window along with another man to free the trapped students.

“All the kids had sort of gathered at the back of the bus and a lot of the bags were strewn about the ... aisle a bit,” he told Seven’s Sunrise.

“We got a grasp of the situation and tried to calm everyone down a bit before we broke out the side window to try to get the kids out.”

About 30 students were on board the bus when it crashed. 7News
About 30 students were on board the bus when it crashed. 7News Credit: Supplied

But he was quick to divert attention from his efforts and said a passer-by lent a ladder up against the side of the bus so the pair could help the students.

“I’m not a hero, I was at the right place at the right time as were many people passing by,” he said.

Premier Jacinta Allan praised Mr Bartels’ actions and said her thoughts were with the bus driver’s family.

“I understand that he was well known and well loved to the kids who board his bus every day,” she told reporters on Thursday.

“Can I also take the opportunity to give a big shout-out and thank you ... to the tradie who stopped and jumped to the assistance immediately.

“I think that speaks to the best of us.”

Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

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