Amid the chaos of a bus accident that killed their mother, an 11-year-old girl comforted her screaming baby sister.
Mijin Shin, 38, died after being hit by the bus at an intersection in Beecroft, in north-west Sydney, while carrying the baby about 3.20pm yesterday.
The owner of a shop at the intersection of Hannah Street and Beecroft Road, who saw the aftermath of the accident, said the image of the siblings would stay with him all his life.
"To see that little 11-year-old girl cuddling her little sister, not knowing how badly hurt her mother was, is something I will never forget," Michael O'Rourke said.
"The little [baby] girl was traumatised. She was screaming."
The baby was unhurt, having rolled or been knocked to the side as the bus - carrying Ms Shin's older daughter and about 50 of her year 6 classmates from Beecroft Primary School - hit her mother, police said.
Today crash investigators were appealing to anyone who saw what happened to come forward so they can work out how Ms Shin and the bus driver did not see each other.
The white Port Stephens Coaches bus turned left on to Hannah Street while returning the students from a three-day camp in Newcastle.
"As the mother went down, the impact of hitting the ground may have dislodged the child," Detective Sergeant John Kelly of the Metropolitan Crash Investigation Unit said.
"The child rolled or ... was knocked to the side. She was somehow separated from the mother and away from the bus."
Bystanders, including a doctor, tried CPR before Ms Shin was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
The baby was taken to hospital for observation and is now being cared for by her father, Detective Sergeant Kelly said.
Her older sister on the bus did not see the accident, Inspector Darren Jameson of Eastwood Local Area Command said.
'She was just lying there'
Another witness, restaurant owner Leon Liu, said the bottom half of Ms Shin's body was under the bus between the right-side's front and back wheels when it stopped.
"At the beginning, she was still moving. But by the time the ambulance came, she was just lying there."
Mr Liu said that, about one or two months ago, a bus turning into the same street from the other side of the intersection hit a motorcycle. He said he did not know what happened to the motorcyclist.
Tracey Hill, a friend of Ms Shin, placed a bouquet of flowers near the accident site this afternoon.
"She was just a beautiful person," Ms Hill said, her eyes red.
"She was just lovely - a good friend to me and a wonderful mother."
Port Stephens Coaches' director Chris Fogg said the bus driver, a 69-year-old man from Port Stephens, had four decades of driving experience and had been involved in heavy vehicles all his life. He is receiving counselling.
Detective Sergeant Kelly said he returned a negative breath test after the accident and underwent mandatory blood and urine tests. The results were expected in a few weeks, Detective Sergeant Kelly added.
Detective Sergeant Kelly said speed was not a factor and investigators believe the bus had stopped at a red traffic light at Beecroft Road. When the traffic light turned green, the bus turned left on to Hannah Street.
The bus then hit Ms Shin as she walked along the designated pedestrian crossing, but police were still trying to find out which part of the street she had been walking from, he said.
Mr Fogg said the bus driver had been behind the wheel for two hours, and that the Volvo coach was only two years old.
He was questioned by police last night before being released pending further investigations, Detective Sergeant Kelly said.
"It's a very unfortunate set of circumstances," he said.
"It's a relatively busy intersection for that suburb but it doesn't have any significant history for bad crashes.
"We are still investigating as to why the bus driver didn't see the pedestrian and, two, why the pedestrian didn't see the bus too."
Students 'badly shaken'
Jane Simmons, the NSW Education Department's regional director for northern Sydney, said the 696 students at the school, which was just 300 metres away from the accident scene, were badly shaken.
"Obviously everyone is very upset.
"A lot of parents have walked their children to school today. A lot of parents are upset.
"That's what happens in these communities."
Ms Simmons said counsellors would be around the school and in classrooms today particularly focusing on year 6 students.
Counselling was also available for parents.
"It's a very sad set of circumstances," she said.
"It's shocked us all, I think.
"Kids have just come back from camp yesterday so there's a bit of organisation going on. The school is very busy this morning.
"We'll do our best to support the school the best way we can."
The father of one of the 11-year-old girl's schoolfriends said his daughter was "very stressed".
"She was crying a lot," the father, who gave his name as Alfred, said, adding that his daughter was on the same school excursion but riding on a different bus.