First responders share details of moments after fatal bus wreck
BALDWIN COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) —
First responders are sharing the challenges they faced while rescuing survivors of a fatal bus wreck in Baldwin County on early Tuesday morning. Steve White, EMS chief for Escambia County, said the scene was chaotic when he arrived.
"When you arrive on scene and there are a large number of kids, you can see the fear a little bit," White said.
A charter bus carrying students and parents from a Texas high school crashed into a ravine just after 5:30 a.m. The bus was traveling from Orlando to Houston when the driver left the roadway on Interstate 10 and drove down a steep ravine. The driver died and dozens of students were injured.
"When you get there, there's just people everywhere," White said. "You got people who are in cars stopped to trying to help and you've got all the people from the bus who are starting to make their way up and you got people trapped in the bus and down in the ravine."
He said sorting out who was and was not involved in the crash was the first thing they did. They then began triage by prioritizing treatment by the severity of the injuries. However, getting to some of the victims was not easy because of the steep ravine and the nature of a bus.
"A bus extrication is a very technical rescue, it's not your standard extrication," White explained. "So where do you cut the bus?"
White said first responders cut into the roof near the middle of the bus. They then had to get the victims to the hospital. The sheer number of patients was an issue in itself and there really was not anywhere nearby to take them. Students were brought to either South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, or Sacred Heart and Baptist Hospitals in Pensacola to be treated.
"We had some broken bones, and then internal injuries and those types of thing," White said. "It was a pretty wide range of injuries of the people on scene."
White said despite the challenges they faced, he feels agencies from both states worked together flawlessly. He said they were able to get students and parents to hospitals in a timely manner.