Questions to be answered in bus crash report

THE PARENTS of the 50 school pupils involved in a bus crash on Garvock Hill last year are set to get the answers they have been waiting for in the soon-to-be-released report into the accident.

Six pupils were taken to Ninewells Hospital and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with a variety of injuries. A further 13 were treated at an emergency centre which had been set up back at Mearns Academy where the bus had left only minutes before.

Aberdeenshire Provost and Mearns councillor Bill Howatson said: “It’s a critical report and I think it will be important for parents and the wider community to know exactly what went wrong on that particular night.

“There have been discussions between council representatives and Stagecoach Bluebird and Grampian Police.

“At the conclusion of that meeting the police confirmed that they would be formally writing to the council.”

Mr Howatson said that the main issues which will be addressed in the report include the agreements previously reached about risk assessments and why a double decker was not substituted for a single decker that evening.

He also said that it was important that the micro-climate on Garvock Hill is dealt with as the weather there was different to the weather in Laurencekirk that evening.

He added: “The issue of a rapidly changing weather situation needs to be looked at as well and that’s equally critical.

One of the pupil’s parents, Darran Smith, said: “We, as parents, are eagerly awaiting the findings of this report.

“We understand that it will deal with the original use of the route and the weather conditions and we are looking forward to seeing what Stagecoach and the council will do about it.”

Mr Smith added that there was consternation in the timescale the report has taken to come through.

He said: “We are disappointed in how long the investigation took to happen, it’s not just me either - many parents have lost heart and faith in how long this has taken.

“I know people are busy but six months is too long a time.”