A Florida school bus carrying 27 students crashed and careened into a pond — and there were no injuries besides a couple of cuts and bruises thanks in part due to a 10-year-old boy.
The bus was transporting students from Mary E. Bryant Elementary School in Tampa when the brakes stopped working. The bus took down a signpost and part of a tree before flipping on its side in the water on Thursday in Hillsborough County, located outside of Tampa.
“It was a big bump, then another big speed bump then all of a sudden, water,” said Connor, 7, a second grader, ABC Action News reports.
“Then I had to swim up,” he said. “I hope that’s the last time that’s ever gonna happen.”
Parents and first responders rushed to the scene and that’s when the elementary school’s safety patroller Nicholas Sierra, 10, witnessed the driver struggling to bring the bus to a stop, according to ABC News.
“I saw him stepping on the brakes, but the brakes weren’t working and then everyone started screaming,” Sierra said.
As the bus crashed Sierra sprang into action, helping children off of the bus. “I grabbed a kindergartener’s arms and put her around my neck and brought her to land, and then I went back,” he said.
Then the fifth-grader went back into the half-submerged bus and came out with two more kids, a first- and second-grader, Tampa Bay Times reports.
“It wouldn’t be fair if they died and I lived,” said Nicholas afterward, still wearing his damp, electric-lime fluorescent safety patrol belt.
Witnesses also called the bus driver, Lenior Sainfimin, 54, a hero after he stayed at the scene until he was certain all of the children were safe. The Sheriff’s Office said that, as of now, the driver has not been cited and does not face charges.
He has been, however, suspended with pay as district officials await results from a toxicology test, as well as the results of the Sheriff’s Office investigation. But district spokeswoman Tanya Arja explained that it is standard procedure in such accidents.
Some students were treated for minor cuts and bruises on their hands, legs and heads, but there were no serious injuries reported.
Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash, but the driver says he believes the brakes failed.