A school bus carrying 40 students from the Mevaskshei Hashem School overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike on its way back from a field trip, reports CBS New York.
The bus was carrying students from the Mevaskshei Hashem yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York. They were returning home from a field trip to a New Jersey amusement park on the afternoon of June 7 when the bus driver lost control and hit the concrete barrier, according to law enforcement.
“The wheel came up in the air and we started flying and then it tipped,” said student Shraga Stroh. “I didn’t know what was happening, the middle kids were flying down to me, and the whole bus was turned over.”
Most of the students were fifth graders, and none were hurt seriously. Four students and the driver were reported to have “minor” injuries.
“The kids knew exactly how to open the emergency doors on buses, because they’re taught what could happen if they open it when they’re not supposed to open it,” said school official Rabbi Fischel Schachter.
The bus was equipped with lap belts pursuant to New York state law, but News 12 New Jersey reported that some students were not buckled in.
Helicopter video taken by CBS New York showed a convoy of yellow school buses stopped behind the crash site. Both the inner and outer lanes of the turnpike were closed while multiple law enforcement vehicles and ambulances worked the scene, but they reopened later that day.
“Of course I’m sure there’s going to be an investigation, but it looks like there was a malfunction on the bus,” said Schachter. “The axle broke loose at a very potentially dangerous place—the Goethals Bridge. If you’ve ever been on the Goethals Bridge, you know there’s not a lot of room to maneuver.”
“The drivers have sterling records, the buses have passed full inspections as far as we know,” he added.
The incident follows a May 17 crash in the same state, which was caused by the school bus driver attempting to make an illegal U-turn and flipping the bus. A teacher and a student died in that crash.