Girl on school bus: “There was just this big drop”

Olivia Reynolds, 11, of South Minneapolis, was among more than 50 children age 5 to 14 on a school bus that fell with the bridge. The bus landed upright on the edge of a large section of the bridge near the river’s edge.

“It was really rumbly, it was shaking a lot and there was just this big drop,” Olivia said.

She said everything happened within seconds. During the fall, children flew out of their seats and many were crying and screaming, she said.

Olivia made it off the bus with no injuries and said her friends that were on the bus are doing just fine. But several children from the bus were hospitalized for injuries sustained in the fall.

Olivia’s father, Jay Reynolds, said he found out about the ordeal from his mother-in-law about 30 minutes after the collapse. Jay’s wife, who heard the news from one of Olivia’s friends who had a cell phone, was too distraught to tell him, he said.

Jay raced to the scene and was eventually united with his daughter in the North Memorial Medical Center emergency room. He said the situation was surreal.

“You don’t understand how something like this could have happened,” he said. “It’s unfathomable to have that sinking feeling that the thing that’s most precious and dear to you might be gone.”

The school bus was from Waite House, a community center that is part of the nonprofit Pillsbury United Community Organization. It was coming back from a field trip to a water park in Blaine, Minn.