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Cowper survivors reunited in unbearable loss

Cowper bus crash survivors Angela Ormesher and Glenn Askew have a chat looking over the highway at Cowper after the ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the crash.
Cowper bus crash survivors Angela Ormesher and Glenn Askew have a chat looking over the highway at Cowper after the ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the crash.

COWPER bus crash survivor Glenn Askew remembers the Ormesher family boarding the ill-fated Sunliner coach 25 years ago like it was yesterday.

"I was all set up in my seat. I had my blanket ready, my pillow ready and my chocolates ready," he said.

"Then this lady from head office got on and said she had a big family booking and would I mind moving to another seat."

The rest is history. Despite some horrific injuries that ended his career as a concert pianist, Mr Askew survived the crash.

Mrs Ormesher and her husband Colin also survived, but for two children and six members of their extended family tragedy struck that morning.

Yesterday, the pair met up again at the site of the crash, which occurred at around 4am on Friday, October 20, 1989.

It was the first time since that day the pair had met.

Mrs Ormesher has no memory of the crash itself.

Suffering severe head injuries, she was airlifted from the scene on the orders of Grafton's Dr Ray Jones.

To this day, Mrs Ormesher and Dr Jones remain friends.

Yesterday she joked she could not remember what it was like to ride in a helicopter and would have to try it one day.

Mr Askew said the change of seat saved his life, but it was not something he took comfort from.

"Knowing that, it is like a two-edged sword," he said.

Mrs Ormesher and Mr Askew were the only two crash survivors at yesterday's 25th Cowper Bus Crash Memorial Ceremony.

About 70 people attended the ceremony organised by ecumenical group Ministers Fraternal.

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis read a letter from NSW Governor General David Hurley.

Topics:  cowper bus crash, memorial, pacific highway




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