Mathew Gibney Primary student keeps calm in a crisis


Olivia Ruck (8) received her bravery award at school from Mel Cartwright and Chris Pike.
Olivia Ruck (8) received her bravery award at school from Mel Cartwright and Chris Pike.

OLIVIA Ruck (8) got a big surprise last week when she was in class at Mathew Gibney Primary School and her parents, grandparents and two paramedics arrived.

Paramedic Mel Cartwright and Chris Pike delivered a bravery award to the resilient student who had been involved in a car accident on September 26.

Her mother, Trish, said the family were returning from a holiday in Albany with their caravan attached to the car when another car hit them on the Tonkin Highway.

Her daughter was wearing a seat belt in the back seat on the driver’s side.

“The caravan jack-knifed and rolled and Olivia and my husband took the full impact of the crash on their side.

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“There was chunks of my daughter’s hair wedged in the metal of the car and there was glass in her head as well.”

Paramedics who arrived at the scene, including Mel Cartwright, said they couldn’t believe how calm Olivia remained throughout the crisis.

“She displayed more concern about her parents’ wellbeing than her own,” Ms Cartwright said. “She remained calm in the face of a serious accident; even though her father and mother were upset, Olivia remained strong.

“Instead of crying, she came with me to have a look at what the firefighters were doing to the car.

“Throughout the whole experience she was more worried that her mum and dad were OK.”

Ms Cartwright said that all of Olivia’s toys had been buckled into the back seat with safety belts as well as herself.

“The firefighters extricated all her toys from the vehicle and handed them back to her.”

St John Ambulance said Olivia and her parents received minor injuries in the crash.

In delivering the award to Olivia, Ms Cartwright said the class was able to tour the ambulance and run the sirens and also strapped their teacher to a spinal board to demonstrate what happens in the case of a back injury.

Mrs Ruck said Olivia was very excited to receive the bravery award.