TWO nurses who raced to the “horrific” Dunbar bus crash have told how their training just “kicked in” when they started helping injured passengers.
After being alerted to the collision, deputy charge nurse Irene Laidlaw and staff nurse Linda Scott dashed from the town’s Belhaven Hospital.
They used Ms Scott’s car to speed to the scene – knowing every second was vital – but their widespread medical background failed to steel them for the scene they were confronted with.
With a bus embedded into a cottage and debris from a mangled car all over the road, Ms Scott said the scene was “shocking”.
She said: “We’re nurses so we have seen a lot and no matter what’s going on, you just get on with it, like you’ve been trained to. But it was quite shocking, when you first got there and saw it, quite horrific.”
With emergency services already on the scene the two nurses, who have more than 40 years of medical experience between them, immediately got to work.
Ms Laidlaw said: “I went to the bus and helped to keep the passengers there calm, and also dealt with some minor injuries.”
Meanwhile Ms Scott went to the aid of the man and woman, both 65, who had been travelling in the car. It had been spun into the middle of the road by the force of the impact.
She said: “Both of the people in the car were conscious.
“Like Irene, I was mainly there to try and keep them calm, and assure them that help was on the way.”
Once the nurses were no longer needed to treat the injured, they helped to transfer some of the walking wounded into ambulances.
The smash – which happened shortly after 10am on Wednesday – saw a North Berwick-bound coach collide with a car and then crash into a cottage at the junction of Edinburgh Road, Shore Road and Beveridge Row in Dunbar.
Benston Cottage was unoccupied and undergoing renovations at the time.
Two people from the Vauxhall Antara car and six passengers from the bus were rushed to the ERI for treatment.
Many pensioners on the coach suffered suspected chest injuries.
It is understood that earlier reports stating only seven people had been injured arose when one man chose to be driven to hospital instead of travelling by ambulance.
Four people have now been released from hospital, while the remaining four have been admitted for further treatment, one of whom is understood to be critical.
We told yesterday how the 40-year-old coach driver had to be cut free from the wreckage.
Firefighters also cut into the side of the bus to free terrified passengers amid fears the roof of the cottage could collapse at any second. Residents likened the smash to a “clap of thunder”.
Despite all this, Ms Laidlaw added: “We immediately felt we should go down and help.”
She insists they were only doing their jobs and that others in the local community also deserve credit.
Ms Scott said: “It’s not heroic, it’s a natural reaction to help people.
“District nurses from Dunbar Medical Practice and one of the local GPs, Dr Cassells, also rushed down to the crash. Anyone would have done the same.”
Belhaven Hospital is an elderly care centre. The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.