28/02/2008

School Bus Death Girl's Cousin 'Critical'

As Grainne Mallon, the nine-year-old cousin of the schoolgirl killed in yesterday's tragic school bus accident battles for life in hospital, it has emerged that hospital staff were moved to tears when news came of the death of Nicola Murray, the pupil at St Ciaran's High School in Ballygawley, who was fatally injured in the collision between the bus and a lorry.

Dr Seamus O'Reilly, an A&E consultant at Craigavon Area Hospital said there was an "uncanny silence" as news of Nicola's death spread throughout the wards.

"Staff were tearful. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families," he explained to the BBC.

Dr O'Reilly said the crash would have a profound impact on all of those who were on the bus and who witnessed the crash.

"I don't think I would underestimate the psychological impact not only on those injured but the other children on the bus," he added.

Meanwhile, while an RVH spokeswoman has described Grainne's condition as critical, it also emerged that another girl, who sustained a head injury in the crash, is recovering well but was kept overnight at Craigavon Hospital for observation.

The rest of the injured youngsters, whose ages ranged from eight to 16-years-old, were treated for minor cuts and bruises and were then discharged throughout yesterday.

NI Executive Education Minister Caitríona Ruane is to brief other ministers on the tragedy when the Northern Ireland Executive meets later.

The bus was carrying about eight pupils from St Ciaran's High School and seven from St Mary's Primary School.

The driver of the lorry involved, who was arrested after the accident, has since been released by police.


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