Barnsley man hailed a hero for rescuing screaming children after school bus crash

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A man has been hailed a hero for helping to rescue screaming children from an overturned coach which crashed on its way to school.

And, fearing that the coach could go up in flames, the 22-year-old, from Royston, Barnsley, smashed the rear window of the bus with his hands to free the youngsters.

The traffic management officer, who works for Rotherham firm BDSS Ltd, rescued around a dozen children before emergency services arrived at the scene of the collision, in Hereford.

“I could hear screaming but it was only when I looked through the windows that I realised there were children inside,” he said.

“There was oil leaking and there was smoke coming from underneath so I knew I had to act quickly to get the kids out. There was nothing to smash the window with. I tried to kick the window through at first but my shoes kept slipping off the glass so I had to punch it through in the end.

“I helped about 12 children off one by one, and took them to safety and split them up into those that were injured and those that were not. One girl fainted in my arms.

“There was another girl with blood all over her face, who was screaming on the floor of the bus, who needed helping out too.

“I am proud of what I did - if I hadn’t helped I would have always looked back with regret.”

Ben’s boss, BDSS Ltd managing director Dean O’Brien, said: “Everyone at BDSS Ltd is very proud to have Ben as part of our team.

“We know he is a little embarrassed by the commendations he is receiving from his colleagues and the public. In Ben’s words, ‘I just did what anyone else would have done’, but we don’t think so. He acted in a selfless manner punching out windows to reach the pupils and getting them out of the bus, not giving a thought to his own safety.”

Ben Thomas with partner Natalie Parkin

Ben Thomas with partner Natalie Parkin