Paramedics Honoured For Efforts At Eynesbury Bus Crash

Ambulance Victoria (AV) paramedics have been thanked by Victoria Police for their lifesaving efforts following a major collision between a truck and school bus in Eynesbury last year.

In May 2023, a truck collided with the school bus carrying 45 primary school students.

A total of 14 people, including 13 children, were taken to hospital by AV, with paramedics spending more than three hours assessing patients at the scene.

Victoria Police recognised AV’s contributions at an awards ceremony in Melbourne on 30 April, presenting a Certificate of Appreciation to three of the paramedics who attended the crash on behalf of all the crews involved in the incident.

Three paramedics stand holding certificates

Paramedics Lucy Claridge, Linda Clutterbuck and Matthew Matalewski accepted a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of all paramedics who responded to the collision.

AV’s Incident Health Commander Lucy Claridge said the case was the biggest incident she’d attended in her 16 years as a paramedic.

“The sheer volume of paediatric patients and the human emotion at this scene really stuck with me – it’s a job I will not forget,” she said.

“What stands out is the overwhelming magnitude of the incident – the chaos, emotion and noise.

“But most importantly, so many people came together on the day to offer help and support – from people driving past who stopped, staff at the school, and all the emergency services.”

She said the recognition from Victoria Police is about celebrating all the AV crews who attended the crash.

“I was a small part of a big team that day,” Lucy said.

“This acknowledgment is received on behalf of all the AV staff that played an integral role at this incident.

“They deserve to know that what they did made a difference to so many people that day and went above and beyond what would be considered a ‘normal day at work’.”

Linda Clutterbuck was the first AV manager on scene and she said it was confronting to arrive at.

“My role was to establish if the bus was safe for us to enter, which it wasn’t, and to start setting up areas where we could assess the children,” she said.

“I was just trying to get as much information back to the teams on the radio as I could, to get the right resources and help that we needed.

“It was definitely a team effort with the other agencies – SES came and sat with children until parents arrived; CFA were getting the kids out of the bus and putting blankets and tarps out; VicPol had detectives and uniformed officers there and they were sitting with some of the kids that were injured and keeping them calm.”

Three Ambulance Victoria staff stand with certificates

Lucy, Linda and Matthew alongside AV’s Metropolitan Regional Director Michael Georgiou (left), Metropolitan Area Manager Caitlin Walker (second from right) and Victoria Police Inspector Lisa Prentice-Evans (right).

Linda said it means a lot to have seen updates from some of the children injured in the crash.

“I’ve been following it through the media and seeing some of the children with those life-changing injuries adapting to life after the incident,” she said.

“It’s heartwarming to see that they can continue living their lives.”

Matthew Matalewski and his partner were the first ambulance crew to arrive at the scene.

“It was very chaotic,” Matthew said.

“But what stands out most in my memory is how we all pulled together – the different emergency services as well as the bystanders and community members who came to help.”

Matthew said it’s an honour to be formally acknowledged for AV’s work on the day.

“We don’t get recognition like this regularly, we don’t seek recognition like this,” he said.

“For it to come up, it’s pretty humbling and I’m pretty proud.

“You always doubt yourself at jobs like this because they’re so dynamic and never run exactly as you expect, but everyone there did the best we could.

“I know personally I’ve struggled a bit since, as have a couple of us, but we’ve all banded together and we’re all still in the job, and I’m really proud of every one of us.”

A crowd of people sit in a conference room for an award ceremony

The awards night.

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