30th anniversary Cowper bus crash

Emotional reunion 30 years on from Cowper tragedy

THE last time Bryan Robins saw Natisha Pitt she was on the side of the Pacific Highway after the worst road crash in the history of the Clarence Valley.

Sitting with her in the aftermath of the Cowper bus crash, Mr Robins, then an SES regional officer, did what he could to comfort Ms Pitt in the wake of the tragedy that claimed the lives of her brother Shaun and mother Elizabeth, along with 19 others.

Since that day, Mr Robins has always wondered what happened to that 14-year-old girl he last saw being taken away on a stretcher.

"I've told my wife Kerry I've dreamt more about that young girl on the stretcher than I have about my wife, she has a great sense of humour but I've never forgot her," Mr Robins said.

Yesterday, 30 years after the tragedy, the pair had their first opportunity to be reunited.

"It was good to see Bryan. It was lovely to be there for the anniversary and to stand there for the loved ones that died and for my mum and my brother," Ms Pitt said.

"When I was lying all alone by myself they were trying to get all the victims out and they took them straight away. It was the first time I had been in an accident and you don't know what happens and what needed to be done."

At an emotional ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Cowper bus crash, family and friends gathered at Cowper to remember the tragedy.

Mr Robins said the day was an emotional rollercoaster.

"On the one hand it's a very sad day as we remember those that aren't here with us but on the other hand I was absolutely sky-high with joy to meet Natisha, a survivor that I attended to 30 years ago," he said.

"After waiting for so long it probably won't dawn on me until later but it just fills me with joy to be here today and meet her and amidst all the sadness there's a beautiful flower that's bloomed.

"At the time everyone knew someone, whether it was a neighbour who worked in the hospital, or a volunteer SES guy down the street, we all knew someone and the Valley went into a deep depression for a very long time and even now after 30 years it's still raw for a lot of people."

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