DOUGLASS, Kan. — Ten students were pulled to safety after their school bus was swept off the road and fell on its side in rushing water on Thursday.
According to an announcement on the Douglass Unified School District 396 website, the accident occurred at a low water crossing. The bus was swept off the road and came to rest in approximately two and a half feet of rushing water. The students on board used the escape hatch and windows to climb to safety on top of the bus.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that the bus driver called 911 to report the accident, and when emergency responders arrived, they decided against using boats because of the swift current. Instead, they reached the bus on lines and put the children and the driver in life jackets before pulling them to dry ground.
In the statement on the district’s website, Superintendent Rob Reynolds said, “The kids were amazing, and they and the driver helped and consoled each other. The driver was sent to the hospital and is recovering. All 10 children were rescued, reunited with their parents and [are] doing well.”
(According to AP, the bus driver was taken to the hospital to be checked for hypothermia.)
Reynolds went on to express appreciation for the first responders’ efforts, and he said that the students involved will be closely monitored, and school counselors will be made available to talk to students.
The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating the events surrounding the accident. Sheriff Kelly Herzet told AP that some sections of roads in the area were still covered by water from recent heavy rain, and the bus had driven into a submerged stretch of the road.