Last Thursday, I climbed onto the bus along with 25 girls and the other coach. We were heading into town for a scrimmage against Mid-Pac. All seats were full. As we drove along Kam Highway, I took in the beautiful scenery that I had past so many times. Kam Hwy is a two lane road that hugs the coast as you drive into town from the north-east side. The bus was quiet as girls were resting up for the game and focusing. I looked up into the rear-view mirror and watched the faces of the younger girls as they sat next to each other talking in low voices. Who knows what they were talking about... what do 8th grade girls talk about? Besides, my ears were filled with the songs of Jack Johnson... My attention return to "Understanding Exposure" the book I had checked out from the library. I'd read a few pages then look up or close my eyes so I wouldn't get car sick from the reading. Then I would return to the pages filled with such beautiful photos....
Suddenly I felt the brakes... and I heard the cries of the bus driver, I looked up to see a white car stopped ahead of us. The bus was too heavy, we weren't slowing down fast enough. We were going to hit this car. The bus swerved to the right but that didn't help, the corners met, I saw a piece of the bumper or taillight fly up into the air. Screams of the girls filled the bus, they must have seen it too... the shoulder of the road was quickly running out. I saw the drop off. Could we really end up in that ditch? I could see everything so clearly and it was like it was in slow motion. Then all of a sudden, as if making up for lost time, everything sped up. The bus had tipped on its side landing at the bottom of this ditch that had to be 8 feet deep. I had been on the left side, the high end, so that meant falling across the bus and landing who knows how.
The mind is a funny thing, what we remember and how we remember it. I don't remember holding onto anything and I don't remember how I landed, but it's like I saw the windshield cracking in slow motion when we hit the ground. And I still had my bag with almost all of its contents on my arm.
I looked towards the back as Makana instructed the driver to kick the windshield out so we could get out the front. Girls were crying and screaming "Get out! Get Out!" as the front half filed out I saw the terrified faces of teenage girls. I saw blood dripping down faces as well as the tears streaming. I could hear music softly playing and wondered where it was coming from then realized I still had one headphone in my ear, I pulled it out. I saw my Library book on the windows which were now the ground, being trampled. I found one of my slippers and walked out the front leaving its match behind never to be reunited again. As I stepped out of the bus and into the running water (we ended up in a stream) I could see that there were already people down there helping everyone out. They were the owners of the little store on the other side of the road. A young boy helped me cross the ankle deep water without slipping on the loose rocks. One of the younger girls was already on the phone with her mom, crying uncontrollably trying to explain what had just happened. I couldn't understand a word she said. She handed me the phone and I tried to explain where we were and what happened and that her daughter would be okay... I tried to do that while staying calm so she wouldn't be even more worried than she is already. I walked around the back of the bus where we could climb back up to the road. Again people were there helping me up. The response time was amazing. By the time I was up on the road, there were police officers already there and a fire engine and ambulance just arriving.
It was like a nightmare, one you wish you could wake up from, but can't.
The picture at the top is hours after the accident as they are pulling the bus up out of the ditch... but this picture shows how the bus landed (on its side showing its underbelly).
We were definitely being watched over that day. Seeing how bad the accident was and how many girls were on the bus that were thrown around, we were lucky. Things could have been a lot worse. Everyone is alright... or at least will be. I thank heavenly father for watching over his girls that day. And especially for the wisdom he had in making sure there was a big strong tree there to keep us from rolling any more.
*Pictures are from the actual Honolulu Advertiser article that was out the next day. We were one of the stories on the front page.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Posted by Malia at 11:26 PM