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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

School Bus Crash in Minnesota Kills 3 and Injures 13

A school bus and two other vehicles crashed at approximately 3:30pm today, killing 3, one of which was a student and injuring 13. This happened south of Cottonwood, in southwestern Minnesota's Lyon County.
There were 40 students from the Lakeview School (K-12) on the bus when the accident occurred.

Eleven people were taken to Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center, two of which are reported to be in critical condition and two others were taken to Granite Falls Municipal Hospital, 16 miles from where the accident occurred. Those two were 11 and 14 years old and suffered multiple fractures.

George Gerlach, the hospital's CEO said that both of children were to be flown to Avera's Sioux Falls Medical Center.

The first person on the scene was Karen Mahlum, she was on her way to Granite Falls when she saw a cloud of smoke in front of her car and she told the Star Tribune in a phone interview, "It looked like a tornado with dust and debris in the air. There was metal flying all over the place."

She proceeded to call 911 when she saw the school bus on its side, then ran to the buss where she heard the driver yelling "Help me! Help me! I have to get these kids out."

The driver of the bus and Mahlum then started getting the children out of the bus with the driver handing the kids through a hatch in the roof of the bus to Mahlum and telling them to get into the ditch and away from the bus.

Other cars pulled up and started to help, putting kids in their car to keep them warm and safe, until the emergency vehicles showed up

Rescue squads and ambulances from nearly every city in Lyon County, Wood Lake and Granite Falls in Yellow Medicine County and Redwood Falls were called to the scene.

All area fire departments were asked to bring as much extrication equipment as they could to the scene.

"Everyone worked frantically to get the kids off that bus," Mahlum said.

The driver said there were kids in the back of the bus who were badly hurt. "It looked liked they were unconscious," Mahlum said.

The bus landed on top of a pickup truck and the bus was also hit from the rear by another vehicle.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said in a statement released Tuesday , "This is a sad night for Minnesota. t is especially heartbreaking when young lives are lost. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were killed or injured in this tragic accident."

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the children, the families and those lost in Minnesota today.