The youngest survivor of the bus crash that claimed one life and left many more in hospital is a 3-year-old baby.
Niko Malaki was with his parents to do some shopping in Apia when they took the Queen Patsy bus on their way home.
Niko’s mother, Alofa Malaki, said it is a miracle her son survived. In fact, she says it’s a miracle that they all survived.
Mrs. Malaki said another woman was holding her son before they left town but she took him back and sat him on her lap.
“It was a nightmare,” she said, recalling the moment the driver lost control of the bus. “I thought we were all going to die but I am grateful to God that I am still breathing.”
Mrs. Malaki said they didn’t know the bus would take the Tiavi route. She said they got on it because they thought it was going to Safata through the Aleisa route.
“I only found out that we were going through Tiavi when we stopped in front of the ANZ bank.
“He said to us that day that he’s taking over the Siumu trip because he needs to come back to take his 5:30pm trip to Safata.”
Mrs. Malaki said that when the bus stopped at Lynn’s, she saw that the driver was fixing something under the bus. It took him a while before they left the supermarket.
“The bus was speeding because he was in a rush to take us and come back before 5:30pm,”added Mrs. Malaki.
“We heard a weird noise from under the bus and suddenly I saw smoke coming from where the driver was sitting. “I started to get scared when the driver overtook several vehicles and he was speeding.”
At that moment, Mrs. Malaki said she held on tight to her son and she started praying.
Alofa’s husband Ogenoa Malaki Te’o said the bus was stopped three times by a Police officer and despite the fact it was overloaded, none of the officers ordered anyone off the bus.
“The last police officer who pulled us over, I thought he will remove most of the passengers because it was already full, but he didn’t,” said Ogenoa.
“The Police should have made the right decision that day because none of this would have happened. We are so lucky to be alive.”
Ogenoa said the crash happened so quickly.
“I saw people flying around, it was lucky we crashed into a taro plantation and there were no rocks,” he said.
“I found my wife lying next to the driver and my son was sitting on her crying.
“I was afraid that the bus might explode, I grabbed them and used the first car that stopped to offer help and they brought us to the hospital.”