Nearly 30 students were saved from a bus that got stuck in flood waters near York. The incident occurred on 5 January when the driver drove down a road that was closed due to flooding.
The bus was heading to Easingwold School in North Yorkshire when it got stuck near the village of Newton-on-Ouse. North Yorkshire county officials have said the driver took a closed road between Tollerton and Newton-on-Ouse. Responding quickly to the emergency, a water rescue team swung into action and transferred the children from the partly submerged bus to another vehicle.
Grace Abott, a 15-year-old girl, who was in the stranded bus told the York Press that a majority of the 26 children in the bus were younger than her. "We felt the bus tilt and that's when water started gushing through the bus. Everyone ran across to the other side of the bus to stop us capsizing and tipping over. He was shouting down the phone to the bus company so I thought we had to phone the fire brigade because there was no way we were getting out of there on our own."
She and a friend tried to smash a window to get out. "We knew we were waiting for 15 minutes and something bad could happen, or someone could have a panic attack, so we started to smash the emergency window," she said. "A lot of the younger children were heavily breathing, panicking and crying. The fire brigade came and waded through and opened the emergency door. Because the bus had tilted enough, they could open it. They got the youngest ones off first," Abott said.
Stephensons of Easingwold, which owns the bus, has apologised to the children and their families.
Commenting on the incident, County Councillor Don Mackenzie said road closure signs had been erected to keep people safe. "Roads all over the county have been affected by flood waters and some remain so. We would urge drivers to comply for the sake of their own safety and not drive through closure signs when there is flooding," Mackenzie said.
"It is not possible to tell how deep the water is on flooded roads and drivers can quickly find themselves in trouble." Mackenzie also promised an investigation into the incident and made reassurances that appropriate action will be taken.