BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Rising waters throughout the southern part of the state have caused many flooding issues in recent days. One routine trip to school turned into a watery nightmare for a bus full of D'Iberville students Monday morning.
It's a route this bus takes every morning, but this time it was a little different.
"I knew something was up when the bus was driving, and I heard it slumped over. Then, the wheels got stuck, and everybody was panicking. When I went to the front, the water was filling up from the thing, and everybody was getting scared," said student Joseph Bardwell.
The bus, loaded with about 30 students on their way to D'Iberville High School, had come to a complete stop in the middle of a flooded Lorraine Road.
"You could see the water just rushing through, and I'm shaking right now just thinking about it," said student Madison Towles.
Shortly after 7:30 a.m., law enforcement and rescue crews from around Harrison County made it to the scene and started working on a rescue plan. The Harrison County Sheriff's and Fire Departments and Biloxi Police and Fire responded to the scene.
Using a tractor from a nearby construction site, responders were able to reach the students and the driver before the situation became worse.
"First thing that came to my head was, ‘Lord Jesus, I can't swim. Save me.' But we climbed and we made it safe. Thank God," said student Frank Zantonio.
The students were boarded onto military transportation vehicles and shipped back to dry land. They then boarded a second bus to take another route to school. According to the students, the bus driver was able to keep everyone calm.
"All of the sudden, everybody just stopped, and he told us what was going to happen. Everybody just calmed down," said Matthew Henderson.
According to the bus driver, this was a morning he'll never forget.
"I just made a bad call," said Daniel Francis.
He said he takes the route on a daily basis and has never encountered anything like this. He thought he could make it, and when he realized he couldn't, it was too late.
"I wish I could go back and redo it, and I apologize to the parents as well," said Francis.
We asked Harrison County Superintendent Henry Arledge about the incident. He said the situation was being handled properly.
Fortunately, no one was injured throughout the process.