Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Five in hospital after bus 'packed with schoolchildren' crashed in Highams Park

An eyewitness said the driver was shocked but conscious when he arrived

Hero for Five in hospital after bus 'packed with schoolchildren' crashed in Highams Park
The damaged bus at the scene
By Victoria Munro 25 January 2022

Five people, including two badly injured schoolgirls, are in hospital after a “packed” bus crashed near Highams Park Station.Five people, including two badly injured schoolgirls, are in hospital after a “packed” bus crashed near Highams Park Station.

The bus ran over a traffic island and off the road in Selwyn Avenue at 8.20am on 25th January, crashing into a shop with flats above, injuring 19 people in total and trapping the bus driver inside.The bus ran over a traffic island and off the road in Selwyn Avenue at 8.20am on 25th January, crashing into a shop with flats above, injuring 19 people in total and trapping the bus driver inside.

Staff from shops across the road raced over to help and found two badly injured schoolgirls, one lying on the floor by the driver and another on the stairs.Staff from shops across the road raced over to help and found two badly injured schoolgirls, one lying on the floor by the driver and another on the stairs.

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson confirmed three children and two adults were taken to hospital, including the driver, while others were treated at the scene.A London Ambulance Service spokesperson confirmed three children and two adults were taken to hospital, including the driver, while others were treated at the scene.

Speaking the day after the crash, on 26th January, a Met Police spokesperson confirmed none of them were in life-threatening condition.Speaking the day after the crash, on 26th January, a Met Police spokesperson confirmed none of them were in life-threatening condition.

Eric and other shopkeepers rushed to helpEric and other shopkeepers rushed to help

Eric Garip, 38, from The Corner Cafe, was one of the first people to rush over and said the driver, who he estimated was in his 60s, was shocked but conscious when he arrived.Eric Garip, 38, from The Corner Cafe, was one of the first people to rush over and said the driver, who he estimated was in his 60s, was shocked but conscious when he arrived.

He said: “I heard a big bang and ran over straight away. I tried the back and front doors but couldn’t open them until suddenly the door opened by itself.He said: “I heard a big bang and ran over straight away. I tried the back and front doors but couldn’t open them until suddenly the door opened by itself.

“There was a girl on the floor near the bus driver and another on the stairs, not moving. They both looked like they might be in Year 7 and were seriously injured, one started vomiting.“There was a girl on the floor near the bus driver and another on the stairs, not moving. They both looked like they might be in Year 7 and were seriously injured, one started vomiting.

“I tried to get the bus driver out but he said he couldn’t move because he was squashed. He was shocked but he was awake and talking normally. “I tried to get the bus driver out but he said he couldn’t move because he was squashed. He was shocked but he was awake and talking normally. 

“I could see there was petrol leaking on the engine side and it was dangerous. Kids were panicking and crying and when I told them to come out they just looked at me - we had to lift some of them over the girl on the stairs.”“I could see there was petrol leaking on the engine side and it was dangerous. Kids were panicking and crying and when I told them to come out they just looked at me - we had to lift some of them over the girl on the stairs.”

Mario Jahja, 37, from Greek on Broadway, also rushed to help and said he checked to see if anyone was under the bus but saw no one. Mario Jahja, 37, from Greek on Broadway, also rushed to help and said he checked to see if anyone was under the bus but saw no one. 

He said the bus was full of “mostly schoolchildren” and that the emergency services arrived within 15 minutes of the incident. He said the bus was full of “mostly schoolchildren” and that the emergency services arrived within 15 minutes of the incident. 

The driver was eventually released with the help of the London Fire Brigade using specialist equipment.The driver was eventually released with the help of the London Fire Brigade using specialist equipment.

Station Commander Dave Hill said: “Crews made the scene safe and have carried out a systematic search of the building to ensure there are no other casualties trapped.”Station Commander Dave Hill said: “Crews made the scene safe and have carried out a systematic search of the building to ensure there are no other casualties trapped.”

Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, tweeted his thanks to first responders and emergency services.Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, tweeted his thanks to first responders and emergency services.

He wrote: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. A number of people have reported suffering injuries and are being treated at the scene.”He wrote: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. A number of people have reported suffering injuries and are being treated at the scene.”

A police cordon remains in place around the junction of Selwyn Avenue and Winchester Road.A police cordon remains in place around the junction of Selwyn Avenue and Winchester Road.

A Met spokesperson confirmed that enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.A Met spokesperson confirmed that enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.