Feedback on Bus 77 Accident
First of all thanks be to God that all the students are fine and in good health and only one student had to have minor hand surgery because of a few glass shards in her hand and 2 tears in her palm.
Having said that the school acknowledges and takes full responsibility for this unfortunate event that has never before happened in the 33 year track record of the school. Although the school outsources to a bus company it is the ultimate responsibility of the school not only to teach the children but most importantly, to ensure their health and safety.
Details of the incident
The incident took place on the main highway beside KPMG Hazim Hassan at the turning after Mercedes Benz. One of the first persons on the scene was fortunately one our parents, Mr Khalid Bahnasawy who was on his way to work and stopped to assist and made quick decisions to ensure the safety of the students. The school was notified by the matron and bus driver of the incident and 2 dispatch buses and teams were sent to the scene.
All the students and the matron where transported by Mr. Khaled to his house nearby in City View where they were kindly cared for and looked after by Mr. Khaled and his wife, Mrs. Shaymaa Abywafia. The school extends their sincere gratitude and thanks to Mr. Khaled and Mrs. Shaymaa for their kind help in a time of crisis.
Some parents picked up their children from City View and went home whilst others were picked up by our dispatch teams and brought to school where our medical team received them. The school contacted all the parents via phone as well as contacting the Dar El Foaud hospital emergency unit to receive the incoming cases. Initially the hospital was reluctant to receive the children as they do not have a pediatric emergency unit. However, the directors used their contacts and influence to overrule this. Our second dispatch team went to Dar el Fouad, and Mr Ahmed Matter, our Operations Manager was there to help facilitate everything.
Our senior Director, Colin Rogers, arrived shortly after at the hospital, to personally check up on the cases there and again to facilitate and help in anyway. Habiba had been checked into a room and was awaiting a hand surgeon to arrive later in the day to safely remove the glass. Later in the evening Karim Rogers also visited the hospital to further check up on Habiba after her procedure. The medical personnel and parents decided to check out and go home at 10:00pm.
Details of the investigation
First of all the school will like to extend its appreciation to one of our PSA members Mr Mohamed Madih who was one of the first people to contact the school upon hearing about the accident and has really supported, advised and helped through his professional background with Exon Mobil. The school has completed the following investigation with the bus company and third party forensic teams from the Arab Associates for Health and Safety Experts.
The outcome is as follows:
This bus is a 6th October bus that takes the daily route of the Alex desert road passing Hazim Hassan KPMG and the Mercedes Benz service showroom and usually goes downhill through the small tunnel. However that day the tunnel was backed up by traffic so the driver decided to take the top route and divert right toward the Daery Highway which is an acceptable decision. Upon diverting, the top right road turns and by default vehicles have to slow down because of the sharp right turn. So we can confirm that the driver was not speeding at the time of the accident.
On that turning there is rubble and debris on the side of the road and forensics concluded that the bus front wheel hit some object which bent the rim causing the tire to instantly deflate. This caused the bus to swerve to the left further into the rubble and debris. The driver tried to compensate by turning hard to the right but lost control causing the bus to tip on to its right side.
Immediately after the accident blood test were done and the results conclude that driver was not intoxicated in any way. The forensics have confirmed the maintenance log of the bus is done regularly and they also confirmed that the tires are YOKAHAMA Japanese brand and have been used for some 36000KM and are therefore within safe usage; they have ruled out any manufacturing defaults.
Our conclusion is that the accident was the fault of the driver who has since been dismissed.
Precautions taken by the school
3 years ago the school took the initiative to install seat belts on all buses. Both the Mitsubishi and Toyota coaster buses are manufactured without seatbelts in Egypt. The only original seat belts installed are those belonging to the Toyota HIACE microbuses. The bus company sourced from the market and installed them.
The school continues to try and reinforce their use through matrons and staff, but we would also request parents help facilitate this by telling their children to wear them! The school has done seatbelt safety campaigns through videos and discussion workshops, and will continue. We also extend our appreciation to Mr. Mohamed Madih our PSA representative for some of his suggestions e.g. senior bus students could be appointed as prefects to help assist and uphold bus safety and rules. This is something we will do. He has also also volunteered to help in workshops and training.
The school using authorized labs (Vacsera and NSA) does spot checks and tests on drivers every quarter and we have been doing so for the last 10 years. The school will continue to follow the same procedure
Last December the school sourced the help of the Shell petroleum company (Health and Safety department) to do a week workshop of practical and theoretical certificated training with drivers. 85% passed and the school rejected those that did not. Furthermore the school reviews the regular service and maintenance done by the bus company. In the circumstances we have decided to terminate our current contract with the bus company and will source other bus companies for September. Obviously, the school will have to fulfill its’ current contract for the academic year 2015-16.
The school will continue to further reinforce the matron’s authority on the bus to uphold bus rules and seat belts. For everyday small issues, bus matrons do receive training up to level 1 as first aiders delivered by the school’s doctor. We cannot further their development or training due to their level of education and also the frequent turnover we experience as a school. Each bus has a first aid kit and it is checked monthly by our medical staff. Matrons go through regular training meetings/briefings with our personnel, HR and operations departments. Trying to uphold the bus rules is however, a difficult task for them due to their social background and the way some students talk down to them. Again, we would very much appreciate support from parents in assisting their authority and respecting them. Every bus has a bus phone and the school will continue to emphasize that they must be switched on during the journey.
As mentioned earlier, this is the first serious incident for us in 33 years. We are all faced with the road challenges in Cairo and sadly no-one is prepared for such events be it a school or a multinational company; however, we will look again at our procedures to see if we can make further improvements.
Soumaya Amr, Colin Rogers and Karim Rogers