Survivors of a horrific crash at Tiavi where a bus flipped landing on its crushed roof are counting their blessings.
Of more than 50 passengers taken to the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital for treatment after the crash on Friday evening, no one died.
This was confirmed by the Spokesperson for the Police, Maotaoali’i Kaioneta Kitiona yesterday.
“We are investigating the cause of the crash,” he said. “The only thing we know is that no one died from the accident. We just had people suffering from injuries and some of them are still at the hospital."
Maotaoali’i confirmed that the bus was overloaded and it crashed when it attempted to overtake another vehicle. The maximum load for a bus in Samoa is 33 passengers - including the driver.
At the hospital on Friday night, passengers needing urgent treatment arrived in numbers.
Paul Fa’alogo from Si’umu, who was on the bus, said they are very lucky.
“I was sleeping on the bus; I didn’t know that something was going to happen,” he said. “I woke up when people started screaming, they said that the brakes of the bus was broken. I looked outside and I saw the other bus from Siumu with all the athletes from Palalaua College inside was in front of our bus.
“I saw smokes in front of the bus and I thought it was from the other Siumu bus. The next thing I knew was that the bus crashed and was rolling.
“People were screaming and calling out for help. I didn’t know what else to do; I held on to the little boy who was sitting on my laps and hugged him tight, and kept my eyes closed...”
All he could hear at the time was a loud bang and people screaming.
“I opened my eyes and saw that the bus was badly damaged and people were lying on the grass. The little kid I was holding on to was safe as well when I opened my eyes.
“I was lying on my stomach on the grass when I woke up. I couldn’t believe what happened; I was shocked and scared. I looked around and I saw some of my cousins lying on the other side and they were injured. “So I got up and went to help them. Two of my cousins were badly injured; I didn’t like I was seeing.” “The passengers from the other bus rushed to the scene and helped up all the injured passengers to the cars to be taken to the hospital.”
According to Paul, the majority of the passengers were students and young people.
“They were mostly the students who participated at the Zone A school athletics on Friday.
“I still cannot work out in mind how I survived and how no one died after the accident because if you look at the bus, it was badly destroyed.
“My mind was far from what happened. I never thought that something was going to happen. I didn’t think I was going to be alive as well; I just held onto the little kid and closed my eyes. I didn’t think I would be able to wake up again. I was scared when people were screaming, it happened so fast.”
The 18-year-old believes that the accident happened because the driver was careless.
“I blame the driver for what happened,” he said. “The bus was going so fast, and the bus was packed with all the people. The driver overtook the other bus at the curve and that’s how the accident happened.”
However, Paul is grateful that no one died.
“I am grateful to God because it was a miracle that no one died,” he said. “I know a lot of people are at the hospital right now undergoing treatment, but I know that it was God’s grace that saved us.”
Paul also wanted to thank everyone who came as soon as they saw what happened and helped all the injured passengers.