A BUSLOAD of high school students had a very lucky escape when the bus they were travelling in veered onto the wrong side of the Monaro Highway. It plunged off the road just after the Numeralla twin bridges and headed for a steep gully.
Only the quick action of one of the teachers, Warwick Long, prevented a serious accident, perhaps even a major crash, after the bus failed to take the left hand bend.
Cooma police Inspector Peter Rooney said one of the teachers noticed the bus had veered to the wrong side of the road.
"One of the teachers took hold of the steering wheel and steered the bus up onto the armco railing, and applied the brake, avoiding going down a steep embankment" Inspector Rooney said.
"It stood a high probability of rolling if it continued on its path.
"The driver was conveyed to the Cooma Hospital suffering from a medical condition.
"One student was also taken to Cooma Hospital for assessment of minor injuries."
Monaro High School and Cooma Public School principals and the school counsellor went to provide support and counselling to the students and teachers.
The group of 33 Year 8 and 9 Bombala High School students and two teachers were on an excursion to the Australian National University as part of their career studies when the accident happened at around 9.50am on Thursday.
The bus was fitted with seatbelts and the Bombala High School principal Philip Steel said the teachers checked that all the students were strapped in before the journey.
"The student that was injured hit his head on the glass and was wearing a seatbelt."
"While this was indeed a distressing incident, it is clear the accident could have been far worse. It could have been so much worse. It was our lucky day really."
"While this was indeed a distressing incident, it is clear that the accident could have been far worse.
"We have been very lucky, and can all be thankful for Warwick's quick action, which basically saved the day.
"This was a great effort from the school community in Cooma, and we were thankful for their help," Mr Steel said.
Inspector Rooney said no charges have been laid and enquiries were continuing in conjunction with the Department of Transport.
The Monaro Highway was temporarily closed while the bus was salvaged.