A Sad Report

As some of you may have had texts home, I want to pass on the facts of an accident that occurred on the way back from Kerewan. None of our group was hurt and none directly involved in events, but I want to lay any fears to rest.
We were split between two minibuses and one bus was about 10 minutes ahead of the other. The leading bus was oblivious to all that happened. The second bus, in which I was a passenger, had a tyre blow out in the heat: we stopped and examined the tyre, but it was beyond salvation. This was the second blow out on the trip, so we had no spare and a second bus was sent for. When it arrived, we transferred all the luggage, including a lot of mattresses on the roof rack, to the new bus and headed off with a new driver and his assistant. As we approached a built up area on a dual carriageway, a couple of mattresses blew off the roof. I was sitting at the very back, facing sideways, and alerted the driver who stopped. The assistant ran back for the mattreses, one on each side of the dual carriageway. He collected the mattress on our side but was hit by a car on the other side of the road. Although it was 100 yards away, it was clear the situation was serious. A couple of adult Gambians and the driver went to the scene, whilst I flagged down cars to warn them. Using one of the matresses as a stretcher, he casualty was taken on the back of a passing lorry to a nearby health clinic and we followed in the bus. An ambulance was called and the injured man taken to hospital in Banjul. The bus driver was declared unfit to drive as a result of his distress at the accident and I drove the bus back to our base. We later heard the victim had died. From what I saw of the accident, that was really the only likely outcome.
As far as I’m aware, none of the pupils witnessed the accident as such and none had any meaningful contact with the dead man before or after the incident as we had only been in this replacement bus for a few minutes. However, a few of them are, quite naturally, upset. We intend carrying on as normal, rather than brooding over events, so we’re off to the beach. I’ll try to get a fuller blog up on Sunday or Monday.

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