Parents launch campaign after son is dragged out of coach when door burst open at 60mph

Seb Goold suffered a brain injury and lost his right leg above the knee. 

Now the parents of the nine-year-old boy have called for tougher safety regulations on bus companies. Seb Goold lost his right leg above the knee after plummeting from the 20-year-old vehicle when the side exit door swung open. He survived his terrifying injuries, including a punctured artery, thanks to his father’s quick reactions and treatment by a doctor and nurse who were in cars behind. Seb also suffered a cardiac arrest on the way to hospital after the horror on a journey home from a junior rugby tournament.
Norfolk Police who investigated the incident found eight faults with the coach - which included the central nearside door through which Seb fell. The bus was owned by a firm that had seen its ­Operator’s Licence revoked over maintenance issues in 2012 only to have a new one extended two months before the tragedy in April 2014. But Seb’s parents Nick and Tracey were astonished when police told them there would be NO prosecution. Even though the main door was found to be worn and ill-fitting, investigators ruled it out as the cause of their son’s fall. Police also later admitted never interviewing the driver or the bus firm boss. The stunned couple complained to the force’s Professional Standards Department. It launched an internal probe and apologised after finding “aspects” of the investigation fell below standard. Now furious Nick, 49, and Tracey, 50, have now launched an e-petition to get safety regulations for coaches debated in Parliament. They also want to see the end of personal licence plates which older buses are legally allowed to carry and which can disguise the age of vehicles. The rugby coach had a plate issued in Northern Ireland which did not indicate year of issue. Dad Nick, a finance director, said: “What happened to Seb could happen to any child unless something is done.
"I’ll never forget cradling my son’s head by the roadside as a doctor tried to stop him bleeding out. "Seb asked ‘Am I going to die Daddy?’ I told him he’d be fine, but I didn’t know.” Nick had been travelling home to Stamford, Lincs, with Seb and twin Ben on a bus hired from Kettering firm Hamiltons Coaches that was packed with parents and children. Nick says Seb was waiting to use the toilet when the central nearside exit door next to it flew open. He was sucked out and went under the back wheel, crushing his leg and puncturing his femoral artery. Nick said: “I heard screaming and shouting ‘Stop the bus, someone has fallen out’. One parent said, ‘I think it’s one of yours’. All I felt was panic. After the bus stopped I ran out. "I saw a line of cars behind the bus and Seb on the verge. His skin had been ripped from his stomach and right leg and you could see muscles and ligaments.” In a stroke of luck, nurse Claire O’Mara and surgeon Alistair Best, whose son had been in the same rugby tournament, were in cars behind the bus on the A47. Nick, who had instinctively pushed his hand into Seb’s groin to stop the spurting blood, said: “Claire had helped Seb to the verge and then Alistair arrived and started pushing into Seb’s groin too. He told me to keep Seb awake.” Alistair, a Leicester Royal Infirmary specialist, said: “I’ve dealt with trauma for 20 years, but his ­injuries were some of the worst I’d seen. I didn’t think he’d make it.” Seb was taken to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn where a vascular surgeon tied off his artery. Meanwhile, mum Tracey, an Open University lecturer, had been travelling home from the tournament with friends and learned of the accident by text. At first she thought her son had fallen down the bus stairs and was horrified to learn the extent of his injuries. Seb was transferred to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, suffering a cardiac arrest on the way. He spent three weeks in a coma after an amputation op and survived a second cardiac arrest which starved his brain of oxygen. When he came round he could barely see, talk or lift his head and had problems moving limbs. Tearful Tracey said: “The doctors told us to accept we’d lost the boy we had. It was like having a baby again. "I had to feed and change him and he had to learn to do everything again. "The medical intervention in Kings Lynn and Addenbrookes and ongoing care from the NHS over the last two years has been outstanding and has made such a massive difference to Seb. It means he is today able to walk on a prosthetic - and recently took part in his school sports day on a blade." As Seb recovered and started physiotherapy, the family assumed police would prosecute the bus firm, whose motto is “the coach company you can trust.” The faults officers found on the Volvo Jonckheere Monaco double-deck coach included leaking oil, a seriously under-inflated tyre and a worn and ill-fitting door with a handle safety guard missing. But four months after the tragedy, police confirmed no report would be sent to the CPS. The Goolds’ lawyers hired forensic engineer Stephen Jowitt. He said the tragedy was an “accident waiting to happen” and that the bus condition showed “scant regard” for safety. Now the Goolds, of Wansford, Cambs, hope Sunday Mirror readers will support their petition. They point out bus operators are not required to bring old coaches up to current safety standards. Tracey said: “The law on the safety of old buses must change.” They need 100,000 signatures to trigger a debate. A Norfolk Constabulary ­spokeswoman “acknowledged the investigation fell below expected standards. Recommendations have been implemented.” Bus firm owner Mr Uka said he was “incredibly distressed” at what Seb had suffered but says that his coach was not to blame. He said: “I accept there were minor faults, but none that caused the accident.” Asked why the door handle didn’t have a safety cover,Mr Uka said: “It’s a manufacturer designed door and we are not able to tamper with it. My coaches would not be on the road if they were unsafe.” He claimed the loss of his licence in 2012 was nothing to do with maintenance. Insurers for Hamiltons admitted liability and have settled a civil claim with the Goolds.
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