Tourist reveals last-minute decision that saved her life in Greyhound bus crash

US woman Farah Priela spoke to Yahoo News after she survived the fatal collision in north Queensland which killed three others.

The smashed Greyhound bus on train tracks with an insert of Piezy Marie's face wearing sunglasses.
US woman Farah Priela revealed the last-minute decision which likely saved her life during the Greyhound bus crash on Sunday near Gumlu, Queensland. Source: Facebook

A passenger who was travelling on the Greyhound bus in Queensland which collided with a 4WD on Sunday, resulting in three fatalities and many more injuries, has revealed the last-minute decision that ultimately saved her life, telling Yahoo News she has no idea why she "obliged" to it in the first place.

US woman Farah Priela was among the 33 passengers travelling on the eight-hour bus journey from Airlie Beach to Cairns and said the collision between the two vehicles felt like a "blow of a cannon".

"I watched the bus move erratically like driving into huge potholes whilst broken glass flew everywhere. I heard loud screams and balling from passengers," she said. "It felt like the bus was moving up and down in a slow motion until it landed past the railroad track."

Emergency services were called to the Bruce Highway near Gumlu in the Whitsundays region where seven passengers suffered life-threatening injuries, with many more injured from the collision.

The smashed Greyhound bus in the background with police officers and paramedics huddled together talking.
First responders treated seven people with life-threatening injuries. Source: Facebook

Since the horrifying incident, Priela hasn't been able to stop thinking about the decision that likely saved her life, explaining she wasn't sitting in her ticketed seat. The bus driver moved her, and it's still unclear why.

"I don’t know why the driver said what he said. I also don't have any other explanation as to why my seat was changed," Priela told Yahoo News.

"The driver upon checking my ticket looked at me and said, 'I remember you'. I had no idea what he was on about so I just smiled and nodded," she added. She subsequently climbed the stairs onto the bus and went to sit in her assigned seat — 1C.

"However, the driver beckoned me to sit on the second-row window seat (2A) on the other side of the aisle," she said. "All I remember was when the driver said to me, 'You are in 2A' and I just obliged... the passenger who took my original seat (behind the driver) was badly hurt and eventually did not survive.

"I still couldn't come to terms with the realisation that someone's life was taken instead of mine," she said. It is understood one of the three women who died in the collision was sitting in Priela's assigned seat.

"I'm not very religious but I think the gentleman upstairs is looking out for me so I can continue teaching my kids and to tell my stories. I am protected, blessed and I am grateful to him".

The debris strewn across the road and grass (left) and passengers standing near the smashed Greyhound bus (right).
Three women lost their lives in the collision while two men remain in a critical condition in hospital. Source: Facebook

Queensland Police are investigating whether the Greyhound bus veered onto the wrong side of the road moments before the collision.

Police Superintendent Graeme Paine described the scene as "very challenging" and "very complex" after the impact pushed the bus across nearby train lines.

“This is an extremely confronting incident, effectively, a mass casualty event," he told the Today Show on Monday morning. "When an incident like this occurs on an open road, being a highway, very significant impact, (it’s) very confronting for the first responders."

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