New video: Bus driver saves Henryville kids from tornado
New video shows the heroic acts of a school bus driver on the day of the Henryville tornadoes. It shows her being forced to outrun the deadly EF4 tornado with nearly a dozen children on board. She got them to safety just minutes before the bus was tossed around by the twister.
It was 3:15 pm on March 2nd. Storm sirens were wailing and the 36,000-lb. school bus was no match for the tornado. Debris was flying and lightning was flashing. Video shows the bus being pushed around the parking lot, slamming into a car, then being lifted, carried across the road and crashing into a diner. The bus microphones even picked up the sound of glass breaking inside the restaurant.
On the bus just thirteen minutes earlier, eleven children were heading home, dismissed early because of the threat of severe weather. The driver reassured them.
"Are you guys okay?"
Bus driver Angel Perry was scrambling to find a place to take cover.
"We're going to go to the Baptist Church too. I don't know what else to do," she radioed.
As the skies darkened, the chatter increased on the bus and the radio.
Dispatch: "I know you're busy -"
Child: "We should go back to the school."
Perry: "Shh. Quiet.
The bus was nearly three miles from school.
"And I stopped the bus for a second, put my hands down and I said, 'Dear Lord, what do I do?'"
You can hear Perry as she made her decision to turn the bus around.
Perry: "We're going back to the school."
Perry asked a high schooler for help.
"Count how many kids we have, please."
Perry: "Eleven. Thank you so much."
Perry: "If anybody needs to call their parents, we're going back to the school."
Child: "I do. I don't know my parent's phone number."
Perry: "We'll call when we get to school."
Radio: "Henryville - there is a tornado on the ground."
Perry: "Tornado on the ground, guys. Quiet!"
Perry: "If you got a book to put over your head, do it. Get in the middle."
The bus was now a minute and a half from the school.
Perry: "There's the tornado right there guys. look, the funnel cloud."
Perry was anxious but had calm instructions for her precious cargo.
Perry: "Don't block me, truck. Don't block me. Guys, we're just going to go as fast as we can into the school."
The bus pulled up to the school.
Perry: "Everybody stay together, our group together. Yeah, go go go go go go go go! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. Come on! Come on! Ten, eleven, go! go! Go!"
Just three minutes later, with Perry's cell phone still in the driver's seat, the bus was blown away.
Next week junior and senior high school students will be going back to classes in nearby Scottsburg. Elementary students returned to class last week in New Albany.
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