Bus driver saves boy’s life

Peter Edmundson and Daniel Hainsworth
Peter Edmundson and Daniel Hainsworth

A HERO bus driver saved a schoolboy’s life when a bottle top got stuck in his throat on the way home from school.

Quick-thinking Peter Edmundson was driving the 69-seater Richardson’s coach, which was full of Manor College of Technology pupils, when 13-year-old Daniel Hainsworth started to choke on a bottle top he had been chewing on.

The 63-year-old pulled over in Station Road, in Greatham, and ran down the gangway to Daniel’s aid. He grabbed hold of the youngster, who was by this point gasping for breath and turning grey, and hit him between the back of the shoulders.

Then he leaned Daniel over the seat, put his arms around him and performed the Heimlich manoeuvre, sharply pulling his hands just underneath the panic-stricken pupil’s ribs.

Peter’s actions meant the bottle top dislodged itself in Daniel’s windpipe, enabling him to take shallow breaths until ambulance paramedics arrived and rushed him to the University Hospital of North Tees.

Today Peter, who has been a bus adriver since 1980 and worked for Richardson’s for the past 15 years, modestly told the Mail that he did not think his actions were heroic.

The dad-of-two and grandad-of-one, from the Rift House area of Hartlepool, said: “I was just glad to have been able to help, it’s part of the job.

“It’s after the event that you think, ‘what have I done?’.

“Every two years the company sends the drivers on a first aid course and I’ve never had to use it in 15 years but it just came to me and I knew what to do. At the time I was just hoping that it cleared and thank God it did.

“I couldn’t get him to spit it out but I got him breathing again.”

He added: “If I hadn’t been trained I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do and it might have been too late, he could have died easily.

“If it hadn’t dislodged then he wouldn’t be here today.”

Daniel’s mum Elaine Hainsworth, 50, a civil servant, said she could not thank Peter enough and branded him a “hero” for saving her son’s life.

The mum-of-six, of Ripon Close, off Seaton Lane, said: “Thank God for his presence of mind and for the speed that he got to Daniel to help him, because this could have been a very different story. He’s a little hero.

“When Daniel got home from hospital last night I said to him, ‘you do realise that Peter saved your life’.”

Elaine said Daniel had been chewing on the white plastic top when he started to laugh with his friend and the bottle top shot down his throat.

And she hopes the drama will teach Daniel a lesson as she is always having to tell him to stop chewing on things.

“I’ve lost count of the times I’ve said to him, ‘one of these days young man you’ll choke’. I just hope now he learns his lesson, and that other kids take notice,” she said.

Despite the near-death experience, Daniel was back at school today, and when he climbed aboard Peter’s bus this morning, he handed the lifesaving driver a Thank You card and a box of chocolates.

Peter was also praised by his boss Dave Richardson, who owns the Oxford Road-based family-run firm.

Dave said: “I’m just happy that Peter was able to put into practice what he has been trained, and the story had a happy ending.

“It could have been so much worse for Daniel and everyone at the firm is delighted he is back at school.

“It has been a difficult couple of days after the report about some of the buses on the school run in Hartlepool not being roadworthy, and while none of our buses had any defects whatsoever after those checks, I’m sure parents will be happy to hear that all of our drivers are fully trained in first aid should anything like this happen again.”