Towns observe anniversaries of school bus tragedies

Posted on November 30, 2010
15 children and their driver died when their bus plunged into frigid Lake Chelan in 1945.
Photo by Themerganser
15 children and their driver died when their bus plunged into frigid Lake Chelan in 1945.
Photo by Themerganser

Communities in Washington state and neighboring British Columbia recently marked anniversaries of severe school bus accidents that profoundly affected their residents.

Both tragedies occurred in late November in the mid-20th century.

In Chelan, Wash., 15 children and their driver died when their bus plunged into a frigid lake on Nov. 26, 1945.

A Wenatchee World article describes how the accident impacted the victims' families as well as others throughout the Lake Chelan Valley.

About 700 people attended a memorial service, and a small park and monument were built where the bus went into the water.

Marci Hale, who was born after her brothers were killed in the accident, recently told the Wenatchee World about how she is touched by the toys and money that people leave at the memorial.

"People do stop, and it does mean something to them," Hale told the newspaper.

Fifteen years after the Lake Chelan tragedy, a school bus in Lamont, British Columbia, was struck by a freight train while crossing tracks, killing 17 people on board.

On Saturday, locals gathered to remember the victims of the Nov. 29, 1960, crash.

In a Global News article survivors discuss their memories of the tragedy.

"I suppose I never did come to terms with it," Alice Sutherland, who suffered three skull fractures, recently told the news source. "The next thing I knew, I was climbing out of a piece of rubble that was the back of the bus."

Veronica Tovell, who also spent several weeks in the hospital after the crash, told Global News that "it was something you didn't discuss back then. It was put on the backburner, and time will heal."


Related Topics: fatalities, history, school bus crash

Comments ( 2 )
  • Hazel

     | about 4 years ago

    Lamont is not in British Colombia but in central Alberta --but yes the horrible accident did happen in Lamont Alberta!

  • See all comments
More Stories

Driver Message Sign

The Driver Alert Message Sign is designed to help reduce illegal passing of school buses by improving direct line of sight visibility for oncoming drivers.


School Bus Driver Suspended After Bathroom Break to Keep Job

A New Jersey superintendent’s call to fire Gaye Kish for using her phone, having a friend board her bus, and taking a bathroom break during her route is rejected by the board of education. Kish cites a medical condition as the reason for taking the break.


Convertible Seating Solution

Blue Bird Corp. and HSM’s convertible NextGen seat allows the customer to change the seat back frame to have three-point belts or child restraints without having to purchase new seats.

A <I>PBS NewsHour</i> piece looks at the safety benefits and financial concerns involved in the issue of seat belts on school buses.

PBS Probes School Bus Seat Belt Debate

The PBS NewsHour piece looks at safety benefits and financial concerns involved in the issue. Interviews include transportation directors and NHTSA’s former administrator.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!