7 children battling serious injuries after truck crashes into school bus in Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) —

Seven children remain hospitalized with serious injuries after a truck struck a school bus carrying as many as 45 students on the outskirts of Melbourne in southeastern Australia, authorities said Wednesday.

The truck hit the rear of the school bus and caused it to overturn Tuesday afternoon at an intersection in Eynesbury, a semi-rural community west of Melbourne, police said. Head injuries, arm amputations and suspected spinal injuries were reported by a hospital official.

A total of 21 children where initially taken by ambulance from the scene for medical care and seven of them remained hospitalized Wednesday.

One of the children was in intensive care, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne chief executive Bernadette McDonald said, noting the children range in age from 5 to 11 years old.

“The children have suffered multiple and traumatic injuries including partial and complete amputations of arms, multiple crushing injuries, severe lacerations of the head and body, head injuries, glass shard injuries and three patients are ... being monitored carefully in terms of spinal injuries,” McDonald told reporters.

She also said the hospital was assisting some extremely traumatized families, adding, "we’re working extremely hard to provide that trauma support and care that they will need not just now but in the coming weeks and months as well.”

McDonald said one child lost an entire arm but she did not elaborate on how many of the injured had partial amputations.

About six children were temporarily trapped in the wrecked bus, the Country Fire Authority said. Emergency crews entered the bus through a skylight in its roof, and the smashed-out windshield was used as the main emergency exit.

Paramedics assessed dazed victims who didn’t appear to need hospitalization in the grass surrounding the crash site.

The bus driver was taken to a hospital with minor injuries but was not admitted.

Police crash investigators were questioning the driver of the truck, which had damage to its front. The truck driver was not injured.

At the time of the crash, the children were returning to a nearby primary school after competing in an athletics event.