BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Two South Mississippians on the scene of Tuesday's fatal bus/train crash are opening up about the moments after the collision. They stepped up to help people trapped and injured on the tour bus.
Gary Williams lives in a subdivision across the street from the railroad crossing at Main and Esters streets where four people lost their lives last week.
"It was like a bad dream or something, but it was real," Williams said.
He remembers watching in horror as a train pushed the bus filled with tourists down the tracks, then came to a stop. That's when he sprang into action to help the injured and get them off the bus. He had to go through the window because the front door had jammed.
"Immediately, we saw passengers stuck in the back. John Kemp pulled his car up; We were trying to reach the passengers," Williams said. "I ran and got a chair from the house so I could reach the windows, pry open the latches on the emergency door windows. I was trying to hold the windows open 'til firemen came."
John Kemp also lives in the area near the accident. He was driving home from picking up his son when he drove right past the crash.
"I drove and caught up with the front of the bus, and tried to get through windows. For some reason, I reacted to go back and get the car. I jumped up onto the car, then jumped on the bus," Kemp said.
From there, Kemp said he saw most of the passengers on the floor of the bus, some critically injured and stuck underneath others.
"A small-framed lady was smothered by a heavier man who was unconscious," Kemp recalled. "Then a lady who was bleeding herself tilted the man's arm, and gave me enough room to get the other lady out and up. She was dazed, but she got past me."
Kemp said a short time after he and Williams provided initial relief, firefighters arrived on the scene and stood on his car to quickly reach the injured and bring them to triage.
"There were three to four firemen on it at one point before they climbed in. Then they put the ladders up. Instead of using the car, they put the ladders up."
Kemp said he stayed on the bus helping people trapped on board until the jaws of life were used to free the injured.
Both Williams and Kemp said they were shaken up by the entire ordeal, but are glad to have helped. And their thoughts remain with all of those who were on board.