THE silence usually found in suburban Singleton was shattered yesterday by the sound of metal on metal, glass smashing and children screaming.
Then came the wail of emergency vehicles - dozens of them - and parents screaming as they sprinted down Church Street and across a vacant lot to a crumpled school bus that had moments earlier been in collision with a prime mover.
A nine-year-old boy was dead, seven other children, aged between six and 10, were either covered in blood or nursing injuries. The scene was chaotic. A quintessential parent's nightmare.
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In the minutes before the 3.50pm crash there had been no suggestion the quiet but dangerously narrow intersection of Church and Kelso streets was going to play host to a tragedy that took one life and changed more than a dozen others.
Children were making their way home from school, people were walking their dogs and residents in nearby Edward Street were sitting on their front porch, content and enjoying the late sun.
Brian Waston, who has lived in Church Street for 68 years, told the Newcastle Herald he, and his 90-year-old mother Ruth, would never forget the sounds of children screaming that pierced the afternoon.
Singleton residents who had news of the magnitude of the crash and arrived on the scene were shocked that the tiny intersection could play host to a fatal accident involving two heavy vehicles.
The area is signposted 50km/h, used by locals to divert from the main street of Singleton and a far cry from the nearby New England Highway.
Singleton returned to a stranger quiet last night as dozens of police examined the scene in a bid to answer the question of how so much hysteria was sparked on a suburban street.
**Police this afternoon revised the age of the child killed in the accident after initial reports identified him as eight years old.
If you are feeling down, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.