LOOKING BACK: The truck involved in the 1989 Cowper bus crash in which 20 people died.
LOOKING BACK: The truck involved in the 1989 Cowper bus crash in which 20 people died. Grafton Daily News

Cowper bus victims remembered

IT only took the reading of the names of those who died to reinforce the magnitude of the disaster that claimed the lives of 20 people at Cowper 20 years ago.

Angus Bristow, Anita Gwendoline Elloy, Alwyn Fenton, Cecilia Monica Howard, David Kevin Hutchins, William Liddy, Vicki-Lea McGrath, Leslie Ormesher, Gavin Edward Ormesher, Nadine Ormesher, Martin Ormesher, Jannine Ormesher, Jennifer Maree Smedley, Kelly Anne Watson, Robert Westlake, Winifred Westlake, Norman Arthur White, Elizabeth Ann Wisely, Shaun Craig Wisely and Pauline Elizabeth Zammit (nee Liddy) all lost their lives at 3.50am on October 20, 1989, when a truck laden with pineapple juice collided with a Sunliner coach just north of Cowper.

Yesterday, during a brief but moving service near the crash site, their lives and the injuries to another 22 passengers were remembered.

Angela Ormesher, who lost eight family members in the crash, comes to the site each year to pay her respects.

“It should never be forgotten,” she said.

She said she was grateful that the people of the Clarence Valley continued to pay their respects for those who died.

Another survivor, Natisha Pitt, returned to the site for the first time in a bid to get some closure. She lost her brother and mother in the crash.

Clarence Valley councillor and Maclean Lions Club member Ian Tiley said the thoughts and prayers of the people of the Clarence were with those who had suffered as a result of the tragedy.

“It was a day that changed the lives of many people forever,” he said.

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