News

WE WERE THERE: Bus tragedy on the Pacific Highway

TERRIBLE SCENE: The Cowper Bus Crash picture flashed around the world.
TERRIBLE SCENE: The Cowper Bus Crash picture flashed around the world.

WE WERE THERE is a series that revisits The Daily Examiner's in-depth coverage of the major events that have shaped the Clarence Valley over the past 20 years. Today we look at the Cowper bus crash.

JUST hours after a passenger bus with 45 passengers and a truck laden with tinned pineapple juice collided on the Pacific Highway at Cowper killing 21 people and injuring another 22, The Daily Examiner was there to record what became known as the Cowper Bus Crash.

The horrifying pictures from that terrible scene on October 20, 1989, shot around the world.

In terms of road deaths at the time it was Australia's worst traffic accident and there would be repercussions for years.

It heralded huge changes in the transport industry because the the truck driver, who was killed in the accident had 80 times the therapeutic level of ephedrine in his blood.

CAMPAIGNER: Bryan Robins at the site of the Cowper Bus Crash Photo Adam Hourigan
CAMPAIGNER: Bryan Robins at the site of the Cowper Bus Crash Photo Adam Hourigan

The coroner also called for the upgrade of the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane from single lane to dual lane in the next five years. A quarter of a century later that recommendation is still to be fulfilled.

The accident also took an enormous toll on the emergency services personnel who attended the scene.

SES personnel, police and other people who pulled people dead and alive from the wreckage were later diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

The Daily Examiner played a vital part in the latest chapter of the Cowper Bus Crash saga, working with a former SES controller Bryan Robins and the Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis to ensure each SES member who attended the crash received individual commendations.

Twenty-five years to the day after the accident the NSW Government finally handed out individual certificates of thanks.

Mr Robins said if it wasn't for The Daily Examiner campaigning on this issue, the recognition for the SES workers might never have come.

Topics:  accident, grafton, history, reporting, we were there series




Valley couple's role in developing coffee culture

COFFEE COUPLE: The owners of driven to Driven to Espresso, Mark and Anne Paterson, say it was coffee that brought them together.

Mark and Anne have been developing coffee culture for 21 years.

He bashed a squatter to death, now he will stay in jail

Bashing police crime scene at Edgar st coffs jetty area Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate

James Kevin Moore has lost an appeal to have his sentence overturned

Spirit of a community behind Rebels'charge

BULLDOZER: Rebels' 'X-factor' prop forward Xavier Sullivan continues to push for extra metres despite attracting the attention of four Coffs Harbour Comets.

Team built on the foundations of a united community

Latest deals and offers

Falls Festival tickets go on sale today

Cold War Kids wow audiences at Falls Festival in Byron Bay despite the soaring tempratures and humidity. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

We've got all the details you need to make sure you don't miss out

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Australian Survivor's Peter: I'm no quitter

Australian Survivor contestant Peter Fiegehen.

ILLNESS forces castaway's early exit from Samoa.

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m