Hero wardens lift 14-tonne bus to rescue trapped boy
Published: May 25, 2007 | 6290th good news item since 2003
A HEROIC team of passers-by lifted a 14-tonne bus off the ground to free a 13-year-old schoolboy trapped under-neath.
The youngster had tripped and fallen under the vehicle as it was pulling away from a stop in Katharine Street, central Croydon, at the junction with St George’s Walk.
Witnesses say the boy had missed the 250 bus and was trying to catch up with it in the hope it would stop when the accident happened shortly before 4pm on Wednesday.
As he fell he became trapped between the body of the bus and the pavement, breaking his leg.
With the boy in a dazed state, street wardens Nathan Thompson, 27 and Neville Sharpe,41, heard the commotion and organised an unlikely rescue operation.
Neville explained: “We arrived to a scene of absolute panic and hysteria.
“Everyone had got off the bus and there was a crowd of around 40 looking on, many of whom were school pupils on their way home.
“There were schoolgirls crying and we could see a boy’s head sticking out from under the bus.
“But his bottom half was trapped near to the front wheel of the bus close to the door.”
Although most people would not even attempt lifting a bus, Neville knew he needed to free the boy as quickly as possible.
He said: “I thought, ‘we need to get him out’, so I gathered a team of around 10 people, we gripped the wheel arch and counted one, two, three, lift.
“On the second attempt of doing this we managed to get the bus up off the ground a few inches enabling us to pull him from underneath.”
Neville then made the boy comfortable, using a coat to rest his head on, while colleague Nathan controlled the distressed crowd of youngsters.
Nathan said: “The kids were really fearful for the boy’s life, that he might die. They were understandably hysterical and panicking.
“The boy was conscious when we pulled him out, but seemed very dazed. Myself and Neville were both shocked when we first turned up, but we had to take control of the situation.
“It’s lucky – we were in the right place at the right time and thankfully he wasn’t seriously injured.”
The emergency services arrived, after being alerted by the wardens,and the boy,who is believed to attend Haling Manor High School, in South Croydon, was taken to St George’s Hospital, Tooting.
At the time of going to press his condition was described as stable.
Police cordoned off the area and the incident is now being investigated by the Traffic Criminal Justice Unit, based in Sidcup.
A spokesman for Arriva London, which runs the route, said the driver of the bus was a woman and will be inter-viewed about the incident ‘as a matter of course’.
The spokesman said: “Our investigations into the circumstances of this unfortunate incident are at an early stage.
“We send our best wishes to the young lad and his family for a quick recovery.”