A PARAMEDIC battled for more than 30 minutes to save a schoolgirl who was thrown into a river after the bus she was on slid down an embankment, an
inquiry heard yesterday.
Natasha Paton, 17, died after the bus collided with a bridge on the A73 near Biggar and tumbled down an embankment.
Yesterday, Thomas Robertson, a paramedic who was called to the scene, told an inquiry at Lanark Sheriff Court that he tried to revive Natasha, from Cleghorn near Lanark, after she was pulled from a river. He said: “The firefighters shouted on me to say they had a body they had taken out of the water. They carried the girl up to the top of the road and I proceeded with life support.
“I established there was no evidence of life, no breathing and pulse. She was extremely cold.
“I cleared an airway and did CPR on her for five to ten minutes. I then made the decision we had to get her somewhere warm. So we took her to the fire appliance where we continued for 15 to 20 minutes. At that time I felt any further attempts were futile.”
The inquiry also heard from Strathclyde firefighter Craig Whitefield, who described how he helped carry the injured coach driver, Raymond Munro, from the accident.
Mr Munro, 63, was at the wheel of the coach taking 39 pupils and staff from Lanark Grammar School to Alton Towers theme park in March, 2010.
Mr Whitefield said Mr Munro, who is not expected to appear at the hearings due to ill-health, repeatedly told him the excursion should not have been attempted.
Under questioning, he said: “My crew commander asked me to put on a lifejacket and make my way to the bus.
“The driver of the bus was lying on the riverbank and I assisted colleagues in getting him on to a spinal board. We then carried him up to the ambulance on the bridge. He was saying constantly, ‘I told them we shouldn’t have went’.”
PC Alistair Marshall told the probe he had visited Mr Munro at his home in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, ten days after the accident. He had visited him to check on his health and to advise him he would have to be interviewed about the accident. He said: “He appeared to be in some amount of pain with injuries. He said to me, ‘I couldn’t make the turn. I couldn’t get up Wiston Road. I went for the bridge’.”
PC Marshall said Mr Munro had made the remarks unprompted before he was advised he was under investigation for a potential criminal prosecution.
The inquiry before Sheriff Nikola Stewart continues.